Monday, August 08, 2005

Cleaning, cooking, clapping and kudos

Would you believe that Noah is having a hard time crawling in the kitchen because the floor is… too clean? I guess the dirt and crumbs were helping him gain some traction on the tile. Now that I know that I’ll never mop again.

This weekend we barely left the house. We concentrated on revamping the homestead. I finally used the carpet cleaner my mom gave me for my birthday. I did the carpet in the office and in half the hallway. This took several hours and used up the entire bottle of rug shampoo that came with the cleaner. The carpet definitely looks better, but it’s far from pristine. The guy who sold us the house put in pale beige carpets despite having two kids and a dog. Genius, right? And with our combination of past party spills, cat hair, cat throw up and baby spit-up the carpets are downright nasty. I’d love to replace them all with wooden floors and throw rugs. Carpet is just so gross – it never gets clean enough. The steps are the worst of all and unfortunately our carpet cleaner is too gargantuan to use on the stairs and doesn’t have a stair attachment. If you come over, when you are using the steps don’t look down.

I went to Ikea briefly on Saturday morning to get Noah a bookcase. I bought a different size than I had intended, but once I attempted to put it together once incorrectly, and then assembled it later in the evening while drinking a gin and tonic, it seemed perfect. We also moved some furniture around. I still have nine million things I want to hang on the walls but I can’t seem to pull the trigger on where I want things to go. We tend to move furniture so often around here that I don’t want to put a million holes in the wall. The result is a lot of blank walls and a bunch of wall hangings sitting in the armoire of our guest room.

I did my test run dinner on Saturday night. All the dishes turned out pretty well, but Mark and I decided that it was flavor overload. I’m going to replace the spicy sesame noodle dish with a more mild rice dish of some sort. The biggest problem with my cooking is that I make a frenzied mess - tossing spoons, plates and pans everywhere as I cook. No expert looks that panicked. And my cousin and her husband are going to have a ring side seat. Hope they don’t get knocked upside the head with a dirty wooden spoon. I also decided I would be a much better cook and a more experimental if I had a sous chef. I really hate all the prep work. The cleaning, chopping, mincing takes me eons and almost always has me in fear of losing a finger. Those 30 minute meals might not take me an hour if I could chop as quick as Rachel Ray.

Noah needs all his fingers. He’s clap happy. He claps when he manages to get a Cheerio in his mouth. He claps when he sees the cat. He claps when we listen to his They Might Be Giants “Here Come the ABCs” CD. Actually that is quite cute. It’s like he just discovered the music. We LOVE this CD – it’s funny and catchy, and its children’s music that doesn’t make your ears bleed which is no easy feat. We can’t thank Patrice enough for it. I need to get a few other decent children’s CDs into the mix. I’m already bored or annoyed by all the others we have listened to a billion times, and I’m sure Noah’s getting sick of listening to my music too. I’d like to get a CD of songs from Disney classics. I don’t want the Elton John songs – I want “Zip a dee doo da,” “Chim Chim Cheree” and “The Bare Necessities.” This box set looks good but it’s not cheap.

So last week’s blogger love fest initiated by the Missuz J hiatus has me thinking a lot about blogging friendships and families. It’s so neat to have welcomed so many funny, interesting and sweet people into our lives via this blog. On Saturday morning I had to smile when Mark came into the nursery and said “Shrimpy and Katy have new posts.” He doesn’t always comment, but he’s just as engrossed and involved in all your lives as I am. Anyway – just wanted to tell you all how much we appreciate hearing your “voices” and sharing our lives.


lonna said...

It's always better to have flavor overload than flavor "underload". It's a good thing that you ran a trial dinner so that you could fine tune things. I do that myself, especially when baking. Veganizing some baking goods just doesn't work, although most of the time it does.

Ethan is also more wrapped up in our little blog world than he thought he would be. I find it very endearing that he cares about what happens to these people's lives.

Katy said...

If you don't think real chefs get frantic you need to watch Mario Batalli compete on Iron Chef America. Every time I see him I think he's gonna have a heart attack and keel over. They get panicked and throw stuff they just have sous chefs to clean up after them and make them look competent.

patrice said...

if you do away with the sesame noodles, will you promise to make them for me instead??

I'm clapping cause noah is clapping! yay!

Missuz J said...

OMG--I had SO MUCH to catch up on your blog. 9 month birthdays--new bookshelves--clean carpets for cripes sake! I cook the same way you do--messy style. Your dinner sounds delicious. I'm sure it will be a big hit.

KATIEmagic said...

I so admire your cooking skills. Your guests are in for a treat! But wouldn't it be just a little funny if one of them really got hit in the head with a wooden spoon? I'm just sayin.

Heather/SHTEZQ said...

I love to try new recipes and I always make my honey taste before others Yeah for the clapping! I keep trying to teach the twins that and waving not there yet.

amandak said...

OK, recipes.

I totally pulled an awesome one out of midair yesterday, so I have to brag a bit. I had leftover black beans and canned corn in the fridge from making taco salad a few days ago that needed used. Also had a red pepper in there that I didn't want to waste. SO, I chopped and sauteed the red pepper, added the beans and corn, a little taco seasoning, a big spoonful of salsa and a big spoonful of veggie cream cheese, and heated it all through. Mixed it in with some shell pasta and voila! cheap, easy, used up the leftovers, and was YUMMY. Would have also been excellent with onion and garlic sauteed with the red pepper, or instead of the red pepper for that matter, but didn't have any on hand.

My tried and true company recipe is salmon. Now, I'm not usually a huge salmon fan, but this recipe is the bomb. It's best if you can find the nice 6 oz. portions. Our butcher counter at the Albertson's in Utah used to have them all the time, and often on sale, here I can only find them frozen, but it would work on a regular filet too. The key is the honey mustard marinade. The neat part is if you measure everything in the order listed, you don't even really have to wash your tablespoon in between ingredients, and doing the oil right before the honey makes the honey slide right off.

1 tbs. packed brown sugar
1 tbs. butter or margarine, melted
1 tbs. olive or vegetable oil
1 tbs. honey
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. mustard (the recipe says dijon, but I always just use whatever is in the fridge)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I totally cheat with this one and use the prechopped kind in a jar, about a teaspoon.)

Mix all ingredients and pour over salmon in shallow glass or plastic dish. Marinade at least 15 minutes, but not longer than 1 hour. Grill about 10 minutes for each inch of thickness, starting with skin side down, brushing with marinade 2 or 3 times. I find it's important to have a nice clean grill, and helps to oil it a bit before the fish goes on so it won't stick too much.

Since I've been a stay at home mom for 6 years now, 5+ of them in a small town with few restaurants, I had to learn how to cook. I'm not a gourmet by any means, but have learned to enjoy it a lot. Hope you do too!

Kelly said...

Babies love Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. My babies at work WILL NOT SLEEP unless one of those two is playing. My next attempt will be the Harry COnnick Jr. "Songs I Heard" CD that is childhood classics from Mary Poppins and Annie, but with a Connick twist. CHeesy, but close enough to Dino and Frank that my kids might buy it and they won't grow up singing "Little Ole Wine Drinker Me