Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh Boy! (Or girl... but my guess is boy.)

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Number four is on the way!

We are so thrilled to have one more little flickering heartbeat on an ultrasound! Some of us are more thrilled than others. My boys didn't seem to care much at all. But my daughter's excitement couldn't be contained. It needed an outlet. And her outlet of choice is to write things down.

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"Mom! I could make a list! That way if you are in the hospital and you forget the names, you can have my LIST!"

This is what she showed me first thing this morning:

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Apparently the third name is, more accurately, the nickname. "Because maybe she'll really like to eat, so you can call her Food Girl!"

"But honey, the baby might be a boy, you know."

"...Oh! I can make another list! For boys!!"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Borscht

Every once in a while, the craving for beets strikes. It's a unique flavor, and I guess you either love it or hate it. I'm planted firmly in the love category. This thick, savory soup is filling and beautiful. The striking color could work for so many holiday meals. Blood soup for Halloween, anyone?

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My hope is that this lovely hot soup will usher in fall over here. We've got a week of mid-90 temperatures ahead. You have no idea how happy the electric company is going to be with my bill this month. They should send me a thank you note. And maybe a customer appreciation promo — you know, buy one month, get one month free. Sounds good to me! If I were an electric company, I'd be all over that.

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In the meantime, here's the details on the borscht. From what I understand, there's a lot of room for variation with this magenta Ukranian soup — as many variations as there are correct ways to spell it. (Borsch, bortsch, borstch, borsh, borshch.) Often added are potatoes, tomatoes, and even beef. And the texture seems to vary greatly.

Ingredients:

4 fresh beets
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp butter
14 oz (1 can) beef or chicken broth
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

Begin by cutting off the roots and the leaves of the beets and setting the trimmed beets in a large pot of boiling water. Boil the beets for 30 minutes.

While the beets are cooking, prepare the vegetables. (Keep them separate as they will be added at different points in the cooking process.) Chop one whole sweet onion, a half of a cup of carrots, and finely shred 1 cup of cabbage.

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When the beets are done, run them under cold water and gently rub the skin off. Trim the ends and chop the beets into bite-sized pieces.

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Place 1 tablespoon of the butter as well as the onions and the carrots in a large pot and heat on medium-high. Simmer for a few minutes until the onions tun soft and translucent.

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Add 1 1/2 cups water and the chopped beets. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Add the cabbage, one 14 oz can of chicken or beef stock,1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

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At this point, you could serve the soup as-is. As for me, I like to use a hand blender or a food processor to break down the vegetables a little more.

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Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Garnish with a tablespoon sour cream and grated cucumber or cabbage.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How will we, the 9/11 generation, be remembered?

My husband at work today, honoring the 343+ firefighters that were lost ten years ago:

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Please excuse the exhausted look. That's my fault. I've been feeling under the weather and the only thing I seem to be able to stomach are little Snickers bars. The fun-sized ones, not the mini ones. It's all about the chocolate to nougat ratio. I ran out, and he was kind enough to make a midnight run to the store for me in spite of the fact that he had to go to work the next day.

It's amazing, isn't it, just how many lives were altered that day? So many hearts were broken as the debris settled. We collectively cried in pain and disbelief and wide-eyed horror. And then there were the years that followed — this unbelievable decade that we've been through. Everyone has been touched in some way, whether it was by the crumbling of buildings, the obliteration of our sense of safety, the downfall of the banking industry, the crash of the housing market, or the free-fall of the economy. So much destruction. So many hearts continue to break as the rubble keeps falling.

So much has changed.

How will our generation be remembered? Will our outrageously divisive politics define us? (Are you ready for another crazy political season? I'm not sure if I can handle it yet! Oh, the phone calls and the commercials and the wild accusations!) Will we be remembered for the years of war we've waged? Will historians think we made the right choices? Will we be know for pointing the finger at the other guy while screaming "it's all his fault?"

I don't know. I think in a way, yes, to all of the above. I'll tell you one thing we're NOT. No one can accuse our generation of being apathetic. Maybe we'll be remembered for our passion in defending what we believe to be right. Sure, we don't all agree about what's "right" for our nation at this time. Sure, there's a lot of yelling across the aisle. But I'll tell you one thing — we're all standing for something.

Potent feelings were awoken that day ten years ago. People who never voiced an opinion suddenly felt compelled to set things right. Our desire to stand up and say something was stirred.

I think the 9/11 generation will be remembered as the generation that cared.
Deeply.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I feel like the heavens are trying to yell something at me...

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I saw this the other day. It made me smile. But now I'm left wondering, what was the sky trying to yell at me? Pending Words With Friends doom? (Check.) Searing heat? (Check. C'mon, California. Enough with summer already!) Watch out for that nasty flu that is going to strike the whole family and leave you shriveled up in bed with nothing but a funny picture, a cup of hot chocolate, and Scrubs re-runs to comfort you as you try to find the will to be mom and make that dreaded and much-needed trip to the store? (Also check.)

After the events of this week I can say this much -- when the sky screams at you, it's best to pay attention and be prepared! And don't start any WWF games!
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