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Green Beans

We planted some green beans this year in containers, two different varieties, the names I don’t remember.  One is a bush variety, the other the kind that has to grow up a trellis.  When BD and I returned from our Pacific Northwest Idyll I went out to check on things in our still-crappy backyard and garden only to discover that our bush green beans had sprouted with lovely, slender young beans.  The Bug happened to be with me as I was doing this, so we enjoyed snacking on the beans straight off the bush.  The small, crunchy beans were the perfect size for the boy, so we harvested most of them, had more raw ones with our dinner, and ate some more straight off the bush as a morning snack the next day before getting in the car and heading off to daycare & work. The tall trellis-growing beans aren’t ready yet.

All of this gave me the jones to put in a much bigger garden next spring.  I have visions of me and The Bug eating all kinds of fresh produce straight off our plants.  This year, besides the container green beans, we’ve been doing container tomatoes, which are coming along as well as basically neglected tomato plants can (I water them, but that’s it, no special food or supplements or bug protection), and the usual array of planter-box herbs: oregano, mint, cilantro, parsley, sage, rosemary, basil, dill.  But we have plans to build a large and long row of raised planting beds along the east side of our driveway, where there is about a 4 x 20 foot long stretch of essentially useless space.  We have built these kind of beds before when we were in graduate school.

One of the tricks is that most weather-resistant lumber is treated with arsenic, and that’s something you don’t want leaching into the soil you’re growing food in.  So we have to search for untreated lumber or line the beds with plastic before putting in the soil, which is what we did in our old beds.  The other trick is to plant things that we aren’t already swamped by in our CSA box.  So cucumbers and other summer squash aren’t a great idea.  Whereas green beans are, and tomatoes, or eggplants, or bell peppers.  We get all of those things in the box, but in small quantities.  Strawberries or other fruit would also be great.

Boy, I can’t wait for next summer!  Can we just skip winter?  And all the snow (and teaching) we’ll have to endure between now and then?


Kale Chips are Crispy and Salty

and I made them for dinner last night.  Well, that wasn’t all we ate.  We also ate a beet roesti (it’s like a beet latke) and some vegetarian sausages.  And guess what?  The Bug ate each and every single one of those items.  I wanted to cheer, but instead I played it cool.  I sent all of the same to daycare for lunch, and very little of it came back, so I’m assuming that he continued to eat these things again today.  Let me stress that I did not tell The Bug that he was eating kale, just that he was being offered “chips.”  Likewise, with the roesti, whenever I mentioned that it was beets, he recoiled and began wimpering, so I let well enough alone.  If I said nothing, he just happily ate that yummy goodness.  The problem is that I want these versions to be gateway drugs: like if I tell him he’s eating kale and beets, then when I serve them cooked some other way, he’ll have the idea in his head, “okay, great, I’ve eaten and enjoyed kale and beets before.  No problem, Mom, pass them over.”

Tonight for dinner we had egg salad sandwiches, homemade pickles (thank you CSA cucumber madness & Mark Bittman), crunchy, baked garbanzo beans & salad.  Another delicious dinner.

In other news, we LEFT TOWN WITHOUT OUR CHILD.  For 3 days.  We went to a wedding in a beautiful Pacific Northwest city, and cursed the gods that consigned us to life in the Midwest (no midwestern jokes, though, I AM a native and I do have a shred of pride even if I’d rather live in the promised land where it’s not too hot and not too cold and everything grows), while also enjoying the company of our dear, funny, and too far-flung graduate school friends.  The Bug was tended by his paternal grandfather (aka Big Poppy) and his father’s Aunt and Uncle (I guess that makes them his great-Aunt and Uncle?) and it all seems to have gone swimmingly.  We relaxed, and the elders in the clan really got to know this lovely child in a way that only total responsibility brings.

Now we are back, our kitchen & bathroom & office renovations begin in less than a week and I am holding my breath as we prepare to drain our savings into our house during a historic slump in the housing market.  But I really can’t stand our dumpy cabinets any more either.


Here’s what we’ve been eating lately, going backwards from last night.

Tuesday: Grilled gluten sausages, grilled zuchinni & broccoli, beet/turnip/chard greens sauteed with garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil & soy sauce

Monday: Zuchinni & cheddar cheese quesadillas, black beans, mango salsa

Sunday: grain, nut & bean burgers (made by grinding up Saturday’s leftovers with some egg & spelt flour) & salad

Saturday: couscous w/carrot & garbanzos & walnut-miso dressing; salad; sliced raw turnips & radishes

Friday: Pasta w/garlic, olive oil, cannelinni beans, chard

That seems to be about all I can remember, sad to say . . . There was some more grilling in there, with hamburgers for Baby Daddy and the Bug, some grilled yellow squash, lots more salads (thank you CSA lettuce).

For deserts we’ve been eating pineapple, oranges, watermelon.

The Bug is rejecting one of the few veggies he likes to eat, namely the glorious cherry tomato.  I hope it’s not a forever kind of thing.

Here’s what he’ll eat fairly reliably these days:

raisins, dates, dried apricots, walnuts, cashews, tofu chunks, apples, watermelon, canteloupe, pineapple, oranges, pears, most kinds of cheese, hamburger, fake & real sausage, yogurt concotion (see previous post), carrots, corn, crackers of all kinds, raw oats, olives, capers, fusilli pasta w/pesto, ravioli, pizza, hummus, applesauce, cheerios, muffins (I make some banana wheat germ & pumpkin millet ones he likes), peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, grains of all sorts — rice, quinoa, couscous, millet, etc., turkey meatloaf, quesadillas, bread.  And there’s a blueberry scone he usually gets on Sunday mornings with BD that he’s quite fond of.  What’s not to like?

You’ll notice this isn’t a huge list.  And there’s hardly a vegetable or green thing in sight.  And nary a legume, save for the soybeans that went into making the tofu.  The boy is not a vegetable-lover.  And he’s not adventerous.  Still, there’s enough on here that I only want to tear my hair out and scream once every few weeks.

Flaxmeal: a new word

Lately I have taken to making the Bug a breakfast of plain whole milk yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of all-fruit strawberry jam, wheat germ, and flaxmeal.  I’ll serve some nibbly things on the side — cubes of tofu, banana slices, raisins, dry cereal, toast, whatever.  This morning as I was making my yogurt concoction, Baby Daddy asked me what my new breakfast strategy for the Bug was, so I explained what I was putting into the yogurt.

Later in the morning while Bug sat gobbling up his breakfast I was making myself a smoothie, which always includes flaxmeal.  I was opening up the package and spooning the flaxmeal into the blender when I heard the Bug saying “flaxmeal” over and over again.  We have never made an effort to teach him this word, but he has obviously heard us talking about it.  Then he wanted to see the package, open it, put some flaxmeal on his tray, eat it straight, dip banana slices and cereal and tofu in it, just generally get to know it in all its glory.

That kid!

20 months

The Bug is 20 months old today.  There’s a post over at Ask Moxie ( about how to support a laboring woman, so everyone is getting into sharing birth stories, which is great.  I love to think about and remember the day I gave birth.  It really was the most amazing experience I’ve had in 35 years here.  I think about being pregnant and giving birth a lot, mostly because whenever I go swimming, which is generally every Tuesday and Thursday, I think about swimming when I was pregnant with the Bug and how I went swimming on his due date while I was leaking amniotic fluid (though I didn’t yet realize that was what was happening).

Apropos of my post about wanting to document the Bug’s life more fully (besides in pictures, of which we have a zillion), I have been meaning to compile a list of the words and phrases that Bug is saying.  So here goes my best attempt.  I will surely forget some:

Mama, Dada, Lucas (the dog — pronounced Yicky), Kyrie (the dog), doggy, cat, duck, pig, sheep, bug, DD (the name for his aunt and uncle), Big Poppy (his paternal grandpa), Dupey (his maternal grandma), Meredith (his daycare provider), Abida, Me-me, Jacob (all 3 from his old daycare), broccoli, carrot, cracker, cheese, walnut, cashew, date, banana, apple, milk, water, olive, muffin, shake, raisin, radish (raddy), yeast (as in nutritional), rice, truck, car, up, down, side, dollhouse, bike, bicycle, seat, cord, plug, shoe, sock, night-night, meow, shovel, dot, Ernie (as in the Sesame Street character, of which he has a stuffed version), tooth, police car, fire truck, vacuum (vac-ki-ki), outside, book, read, “did it” (as in I did it, Mama did it, etc.), “got it”, “have it”, “coming out”, please, toilet, bye-bye, hello, pee-pee, glasses, cup, bottle, coffee, “see it”, button, camera, ladder, ball, “oh no,” “uh-oh,” saw, light, door, open, hush, bag, bus, guy, whee, music, “make it,” clock, this, that, knife, baby, big boy, hot, no, brick, heavy, eye, knob, carpet, step, stop, fast, out, help, shoe, take (“Mama take it”), ladybug, wall, hammer, tofu.

His receptive vocabulary is of course much bigger, so I won’t even try to document that.

I sure do love that beautiful being!

Food this Week

Okay, so even though I complained about my scandalous inability to document the Bug’s breathtaking march through life yesterday and swore to myself and the whole internets that I would turn over a new leaf, I did not.  But in my defense we had house guests last night (Aunt C and Uncle E).

But I’m not here to berate myself.  I’m here to write about our food this week.  I am inspired because: 1) I always like reading what other people are eating; 2) I made a delicious dinner tonight and I want to let the world know.  Tonight’s dinner was garlic scape pesto pizza.  Our CSA box blessed us with garlic scapes for the second week in a row so I had a bit of a backlog.  I had come across a few recipes for garlic scape pesto last week when trolling around online looking for ways to use their deliciousness, other than the white bean and scape dip I made last summer.  So today I decided to go for it.  And I also had a partially-used block of mozzarella in the fridge, one leftover gluten italian-flavored sausage, and a half of a yellow squash.  So I made some pizza dough, grated the yellow squash and cheese, cut up the sausage, and ground up the scapes with walnuts, parm, and olive oil.  And I made a pizza out of it all.  It was delicious.  We ate that with a salad of CSA lettuce, farmer’s market orange and purple carrots, CSA radishes and baby turnips, and good old-fashioned-trucked-across-the-country-from-California cherry tomatoes.  Even the Bug ate the pizza and some radishes (raddy) and carrots (cay-yuts) from the salad.  Oh, and he also had leftover grilled corn.

But the rest of the week we ate or are going to eat:

Saturday: we went OUT to eat for pretty much the first time in Bug’s toddlerhood

Sunday: we ate with the DDs, our downstairs neighbors, they cooked

Monday: grilled vegetarian sausages, corn, grillable cheese & salad

Tuesday: vegetable & black bean burritos

Wednesday: above-mentioned scape pesto pizza

Thursday: stir fry of various CSA goodies & tofu & brown rice, probably with a tahini sauce

Friday: basil pesto & whole wheat fusilli, canelinni beans & kale

Saturday: grill whatever seems good & salad

Sunday: glory bowl (see recipe here:

Monday: herb frittata, salad, biscuits

Tuesday: veggie & black bean burritos again (we love these and have them once a week)

Wednesday: whatever we’ve still got, I’ll do something with it.  And Wednesdays are the day we get our weekly CSA box.

Taking Time

I am having a bad day.  Yesterday I finished a draft of the last “big” chapter of the book I am writing.  You would think this would make me feel good, but instead it has brought a fresh round of serious anxiety.  Why?  Because finishing that chapter means that all I have left to do is rewrite the introduction and afterword.  And those are the spots when it’s Really Important That I Know What I Am Talking About.  What the book is about, what my argument is, how it relates to all the scholarship that has come before.  These are spaces to zoom out and pan the camera across the landscape.  But you know what?  That kind of a thing makes me want to vomit and find the nearest exit door.

That’s when I turn to the blogs written by all those waldorf SAHMs and feel even worse about myself and my life.  Here I am, miserable in my office counting the minutes until I can leave, when I could be at home with darling Bug, baking whole wheat sweets and knitting him woolen covers for his cloth diapers while we plant our garden and he nurses until he goes to kindergarten.  Okay, I exaggerate, but you know what I mean.

And I think I feel especially bad because my anxiety does interfere with my connection with the Bug.  Like this morning, Baby Daddy did the waking-up routine with Bug and I was already feeling anxious about my day by the time I saw him so I felt at a distance from him the whole morning.  And then I thought about how when I get home I will be focused on chopping things up to make dinner for all of us, including Uncle E and Aunt C, who are staying the night.  So there’s some more unquality time.  And then he’ll go to sleep.  He’s making such incredible discoveries every day and learning new words by the pile, and I have not been diligent about recording it all.

So my new desire is really just to take time.  I really do have enough of it.  Just take the time to stop and play with the Bug and then take a couple of minutes to record the day or the week’s best sayings and doings when he’s in bed.