Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

What I’m Cooking – Braised Cabernet Chicken

Posted by Lissa on May 16, 2014

Happy Friday, all! You know how you never know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone? Well, you never know how easy it is to balance life tasks and your first kid until your second kid shows up.

It’s Friday, which means that Mike is going for a haircut after work. Little Gronk’s new preschool is about fifteen minutes from here, but Mike’s work is perhaps halfway there, so he’d normally pick up The Package. (Yes, we send each other texts that say “I have the package.” What?) However, since the barber shop is by the house, I’m going to head over and get him. Which means making sure Bubber is fed either before or after, getting him packed up, and juggling baby-in-a-popout-car seat along with Little Gronk. Who needs weight-lifting when you have two sons that both need to be carried?

The challenge here is that I’m cooking dinner (as opposed to serving leftovers) and that Little Gronk does NOT like when I cook. That is, he whines and fusses and begs to be picked up and can’t understand why I tell him he has to wait.

(Of course, sometimes he doesn’t like WHAT I cook, either. Child is a seriously picky eater, and like all toddlers we play the fun game of wondering whether his new “favorite food” will get devoured or violently rejected the next time I serve it.)

In tonight’s case, I’m making braised cabernet chicken (basic recipe below), which is one of the few grown-up dishes he’s consistently eaten. The challenge is that I can’t leave it bubbling on the stove while I go for the pickup; nor can I wait to start it until I get home from pickup. (It’s a bath night.) I’ve therefore adapted it for the crockpot and it’s heating up on the counter.

Is there anything that smells better than onions and garlic cooking in bacon fat?

P.S. I wonder if I should include a #firstworldproblems disclaimer with these posts. I assure you that I know how lucky I am that I have two wonderful, healthy children, a marvelous and healthy husband, and sufficient material comfort that I have childcare options and vehicular ability to juggle pickups. Does that go without saying? I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining in earnest!

Braised Cabernet Chicken – Originally from the Pampered Chef and adapted for crockpot cooking

-2 packages boneless skinless chicken thighs (12 thighs total)
-4-6 slices of bacon (however many your biggest frying pan will comfortably hold)
-1 white onion
-4 cloves of garlic (your taste may vary; any recipe that calls for 2 cloves usually gets about 6 in my kitchen)
-8 oz mushrooms (white mushrooms is the default, but baby bellas will add a richer flavor)
-4 sprigs fresh thyme
-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup chicken broth
– 1/2 cup red wine (Cabernet is called for but I use whatever is left over)
– starch to serve – I recommend egg noodles

– Fry bacon over medium heat until crisp (slightly overdone is okay). Dice the onion while it’s cooking.
– Remove bacon to a plate. Use as much of the leftover fat as fits your diet. (I personally hate pouring fat out of a pan, as it inevitably gets down the side and the bottom; I’ll use a paper towel to sop it up instead.)
– Toss the onion into the fat and slice the garlic while it cooks. The onion needs four or five more minutes than the garlic does. (If it takes you longer than five minutes to slice five cloves of garlic then you need to practice your knife skills.) Add the garlic to the pan and cook 2-3 more minutes until you can smell the deliciousness.
– Plop the chicken thighs into the (large!) crock pot. Pour wine and broth over chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste (you can add more later if needed). Lay mushrooms on top and glug the Worcestershire sauce over it (I don’t measure; you don’t have to either). Lay the thyme down the side where it will definitely be covered by the liquid. Toss the hot onion, garlic and bacon fat mix over the top.

I’m not sure how long to cook it; usually I’d simmer it stovetop for a half hour or so. In this case, I’m putting it on high for four hours. If I’d started earlier in the day I’d have done six hours on low instead. We’ll see what level of doneness results.

Also? I cheat on the sauce. I like it to be thick and cling to the egg noodles, so I add a cornstarch slurry at the end and boil for two minutes.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!


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Under construction!

Posted by Lissa on May 15, 2014

Deleting outdated feeds, adding new links and playing with the appearance. It’s time to give the old girl a facelift. Stay tuned!!

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Random thoughts

Posted by Lissa on May 14, 2014

Little Gronk did SOOOOO WELL!!!! at New Preschool yesterday! I was beyond thrilled. This new place has camera access – hooray for living in the future!! – so I personally witnessed him clapping, dancing, sitting down for stories, and going to sleep on his cot. It was wonderful to see and the transition went so much smoother than I’d dared to hope.

Ironically, the ONLY time he cried all day was when I came to pick him up. He was sitting with the other kids for story time. When he saw me I was amazed that he didn’t get up or break rank; he just started bawling. The teachers laughed and told him he could go see me so he got up and ran . . . and went RIGHT past me to the doorway where I’d left Bubber in his stroller. Shows me my proper place in the world 🙂

I am very, very, very lucky that Gronk has fallen so in love with Bubber. Once the littlest dude gains the ability to move about I think that will change a bit, but for now Gronk likes nothing better than to poke his belly, gently pat his hair, put in his binky, or give big, sloppy kisses to Bubber’s face (“MWAH!!!!”). I am a very lucky Mama.

Speaking of Bubber, his umbilical cord fell off on Mother’s Day. That’s one day short of seven weeks old. Most kids’ cords drop off at 2-3 weeks. If everything about Bubber is as stubborn as that, I am a sitting duck when he gets old enough to talk. Let alone hits puberty!


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A visit to Dr. Dickhead

Posted by Lissa on May 13, 2014

Good morning all! LOTS of updates, since I’ve been MIA for quite a while; I’ll get through those in future posts.

– Little Gronk starts at a new preschool this morning. The whole of 2013 he had been at a wonderful preschool across the street from Sunshine Financial. The teachers and staff were great and I really miss them! However, during my 13 weeks of maternity leave for Bubber and especially considering that I’m going part-time (three days a week), it just didn’t make sense to keep him there; it’s a half hour each way and would take two hours out of my day. No.

Gronk started at Interim Preschool in January of this year and . . . was kicked out for biting 😦 😦 😦

It’s hard to deal with at this age. Everything Google shows me says that biting is pretty age-appropriate behavior (he’s a year and a half) and that he’ll grow out of it. Unfortunately, it became a liability for Interim Preschool; they liked him, but he kept gnawing on other children and so they couldn’t keep him.

Interim Preschool was RIGHT outside our neighborhood and I miss the convenience. That being said, I wasn’t impressed with any of their teachers, so whatever.

Please keep your fingers crossed that New Preschool works out for Gronk and he quits it with the Jaws routine!!

– In other Gronk news, we took him to the allergist yesterday. His nose is constantly running and his skin is dry and itchy unless we treat it with steroid cream on a regular basis; we hoped to find a root cause.

The final results – allergic to peanuts and cats – are not earth-shattering. The only thing that really made the visit noteworthy is that the doctor made me FURIOUS.

After the weigh-in they showed us to a waiting room. We waited there for THRITY MINUTES before the doctor showed up. Do you know how hard it is to occupy a toddler in a small room with no books and few toys for a half hour?

When the doc finally arrived he was not apologetic about keeping us waiting. (Yeah, yeah, doctors often make you wait.) He was a white-haired guy in his late sixties or early seventies (I’d guess) and he seemed to be the stereotypical curmudgeonly doctor who thinks all young women are idiots. He was brusque and condescending.

We agreed to do a limited scratch test and he left again. They showed us to a different room and, fifteen minutes later, did the scratches. You have to wait twenty minutes for it to show up, which we did, and then we waited for the good doctor to come explain the results.

And we waited

And we waited.

And we waited some more.

Forty minutes later I’d tried every book in the shelf, played with every toy in the room, showed Gronk every photo in his photostream and played with every baby app on my phone. We also stood by the doorway for about five minutes turning off and on the room light. I hope that spiked their electricity bill for the month.

Did I mention they told me the appointment would be about an hour?

Two hours after our appointment started I’d had enough. I packed up Gronk and the diaper bag and marched to the front desk.

“Hi. I know the doctor will eventually come talk to us, but I have a newborn at home and we have to go. Could you please just call me or mail me the results?” I asked brusquely.

The nurse reluctantly informed me that the doctor really did have to talk to me and went to go find him. He apparently had just finished an appointment and she informed him that there were TWO people who REALLY had to go. (He was not quick in reading notes or explaining terms. That also did not win points from me.)

I followed him into the room and he proceeded to tell me that Gronk’s tests for grass, weeds, trees, mold and mildew were negative; he was positive for dust mites, cats, and peanuts. Then he paused.

“The peanut one was high and this concerns me. I heard you’re in a rush but this could be life-threatening, so I think it’s worth spending a little time on,” he sneered at me.

At that point I pulled out my pocket knife and …
No, of course I didn’t. I also didn’t slap the glasses off his smug, superior face; nor did I tell him that his bedside manner was comparable to undertakers, maggots, and DMV agents.

It’s been quite a while since someone made me that angry. The doctor kept us waiting FOREVER – disrespectful!! – and treated me like a ditzy little girl. And I might have overlooked all of that if I hadn’t been trying to entertain and comfort Gronk the whole time. Mix all that treatment with a scratch test and ear examination that made him sob and wail, and I was ready to burn the office to the ground and salt the earth.

I am NOT going back there.

P.S. Gronk tested positive for cat, but it wasn’t off the charts. Dr. Dickhead said he didn’t think we needed to get rid of Rajah but that when he goes to the Great Litter Box in the Sky we probably should not replace him. The peanut allergy is more worrisome, but should not be life-threatening. He’s had peanut butter on two occasions and it made him puke, but it’s not that super-scary allergy that closes off your airways. We’re still getting an epipen, though.

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Happy Mother’s Day! (Oops, I did it again…)

Posted by Lissa on May 11, 2014

So, in March my life got twice as busy….


I am so thrilled to report that Little Gronk has been WONDERFUL with Bubber. (No, OF COURSE that’s not his name, but that’s what Gronk calls him, since he can’t pronounce “brother”).


Little Gronk goes back to preschool this week. I go back to work mid-June but only three days a week. So maybe I’ll be able to update this bad boy more often than twice a year 🙂

Love to you all!

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Adventures in Parenting – Dinner edition

Posted by Lissa on November 19, 2013

The Little Prince (formerly BabyKitty2012) has been waking up between 4:15 and 5:15 AM completely starving. The one time he’s slept through until six a.m. was the night when he absolutely, categorically refused his goodnight bottle and instead ate two helpings of solid food. I therefore decided to feed him extra dinner last night in hopes it would do the trick.

It was a little difficult to start with; he kept making “Uh! Uh! Uh!” sounds and refusing food. I quickly figured out that The Answer was a) give him his own spoon; b) hold the food container on the tray so he could access it; c) let him smear bits around and dab with his own spoon while I shoveled in the rest.  Once Mama caught on, he DEVOURED the whole squash serving in less than two minutes. Excited, I called for another food container from the cupboard and started spooning in turkey and sweet potatoes. He was LOVING it!! Nom nom nom nom nom . . . And then . . . (experienced parents, you know where I’m going with this) . . .

Halfway through the second container of food, he looked up at me and coughed. Then coughed again. And then THIS happened:

A *HOSE* of orange liquidy food fountained onto the high chair tray as I shrieked “Oh my god!” He coughed. And then did it again. “Oh my GOD!” I yelped.

A third projectile puke.

“Baby! Little Prince! Oh god!”

A fourth, though the volume was definitely decreased at this point.

A shout from the garage. “Is everything okay?”

“No!” I called desperately. “Mike, I need you!!”

A fifth upchuck. Not much orange stuff left.

“Oh, poor baby!”

A dry-heave or two, and he was done. He whimpered and held up his arms to me asking for a cuddle, as orange vomit puddled on the tray and flowed down his shirt.

“Oh, HELL no,” I informed him gently and lovingly.

Mike came hobbling in.  “Oh my god. What do I do to help?”

“Run a bath,” I told him succinctly.

I gingerly removed his shirt and bib and added them to the disgusting high chair, carried him into the bathroom, stripped him and popped him into the tub. Then the happy, laughing, cheerful baby had a wonderful time playing with his toys and talking with his da-da while I cleaned up the natural disaster in the dining room.

A half hour later I gave him a bottle and put him to bed. He slept until 4:20 this morning.

The lesson? You CAN have too much of a good thing. Next time, I’ll wait before I give him the second helping!!


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Of course you know – THIS MEANS WAR

Posted by Lissa on July 13, 2013

Apparently I’ve finally stumbled on an issue that is worth alienating lots of my long-time Facebook friends. That issue is: ….. Drumroll…

The Zimmerman verdict.

Anyone who can tell his ass from his eye socket knows that he was Not Guilty. (In fact, I think they showed him to be Innocent, but that’s not hhe required burden of proof.)

I live within driving distance of Sanford.

I will be goddamed if I let bleeding heart sanctimonious statements of how a MAN killed an innocent BOY go unchallenged.

Screw all of you hippie bastards, beloved from my childhood or not. This is the hill I die on.

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Bacon roses!

Posted by Lissa on February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day to my sweetie!


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Posted by Lissa on January 29, 2013

There’s good news, there’s bad-but-good news and there’s poop news:

-The cold has departed, yay hooray! I credit copious amounts of hot liquid, frequent salt water gargling and blowing my nose at every opportunity.
– BabyKitty… is probably teething. Yikes!! He’s not in pain, thank goodness, but he’s chewing on everything within reach and drooling copiously. I’ve told him in no uncertain terms that as soon as he gets his first tooth we’re done with the whole breastfeeding thing, but I’m not sure he believes me.
-It’s always hard firing someone from a small company, especially when the person is nice. Unfortunately, Blondie just wasn’t doing good work.
– Which means that, for the short term, I have twice as much work AND am cleaning up all her messes. Oy vey.
– Should I come up with a different moniker for my baby munchkin? If so, do you have suggestions?

Hope everyone is having a great week!

P.S. I sometimes reward comments with baby pictures. You just might get lucky 🙂

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Well, that was fast.

Posted by Lissa on January 23, 2013

Weeks that BK12 has been at preschool: 2
Days that I’ve been sniffling, stuffy-headed and sore-throated: 3

Oy. Everyone told me I’d get sick once he went to school, but I didn’t think it’d happen so quickly! Though the sleep deprivation that goes with my return probably didn’t help.

Yours, with tissues and cough drops,

P.S. I’m so determined to avoid cold meds that I actually dug out this thing. It’s every bit as pleasant as I remembered.

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