Tuesday, January 08, 2013

{week 1}: on the range, with nacho casserole


Some people start those "365 blogs" where they write or post pictures every day for a year. As anyone who blogs can testify, that would be exhausting! Not to mention practically impossible. But I thought it'd be fun to try to write once a week about what's going on around here. Kind of like a mix of my In the Ranger Kitchen series (which I kind of forgot about after summer...oops!) mixed with some journaling. Here's a bit of what went on the first week of the year.

On the Range
January 1-7, 2013: Week 1


Milestones

  • Charlie has suddenly developed a stutter. I think she's picking up on another child's stutter at school, but it has taken us completely by surprise! She mostly stutters her i's "I...I....I...want go to school today" and w's "W...W...W...We not going to have snack yet." I'm sure (aka. I hope) it will be a short-lived part of toddlerhood. I'll report back later.
  • On the positive side, Charlie expresses excellent fine-motor coordination. Whether it's stacking tiny blocks in a tower, stringing beads on a thread, zipping her hoodie, or putting tops back on markers, she has a surgeon's precision. It's incredible! 
  • Meanwhile, Vivi stubs her toes about three times a day and trips over the threshold to her room every time she enters it. I can't imagine where she picked up that clumsy trait. Psych!
  • Happily, Vivi's artwork continues to improve. I am impressed with her creativity and focus. She will sit down and crank out 8 paintings, each varied in its color and style (criss-crossed lines in a map-like pattern followed by the close-up of an eye). Is there anything this child can't do?

Mom is doing...
  • I took my childbirth educator training this weekend, and Nate graciously watched the kids while I was gone. It's no easy feat to watch them over a weekend in the winter, when many of the usual kid activities are put on hold. He even took them to the local Audubon sanctuary and ran an errand! I was way impressed.
  • I am itching to get rid of old toys and clothes and organize the basement. I got a head start last month while my mom was here watching the girls, but there's still half the room (the side with the mountain of bins) to go. But since I thrive on this activity, I am happily excited about the work to come.

Moods
  • I am looking forward to another year that I can improve upon last year's foibles and lessons. I love the New Year but don't particularly enjoy making specific resolutions.
  • I have not yet reached the winter of my discontent from the seasonal darkness and lack of sun, but I remember that peaks in March. Stay tuned.
  • After eating too many sweets and both the girls taking antibiotics (which never happens in our home), we are all experiencing tummy trouble, but hopefully some yogurt and probiotics will have us back on track soon. One week into the no sugar cleanse, and I'm ready to eat my way through a 1 lb. bag of M&Ms, but I'm going to stay the course.
  • We got a new oven (yea!), and I spent an hour searching for zen while scraping a sticker off the front...
Serenity NOW!

Media
Meals
  • Carbonnade a la Flamande with frekkeh rice mix from Whole Foods (which we of course call "freaky rice")
  • Grandma Bonnie's Nacho Casserole (recipe below) for the big Alabama v. Notre Dame game

Grandma Bonnie's nacho casserole
serves 6 (note: we often divide it in half when making it just for us)

tablespoon
Img source: Tablespoon.com
1 Tbs. oil
1 small onion, diced finely
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 pkg. taco seasoning (I love 1/2 pkg. of the one by Trader Joe's)
pint of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 16 oz. can refried pinto beans
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 16 oz. can pitted black olives
2 jalepeno peppers (optional)
3-4 green onions
10 oz. cheddar cheese
10 oz. jack cheese
1 c. sour cream (optional)
cooking spray
tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375 degF. Heat iron skillet over medium high and add oil and onions; saute until onions are translucent. Add meat and brown until no longer pink. Drain fat if necessary and add taco mix. Cook according to package directions, substituting the pint of tomatoes for any water required.

Meanwhile, grate cheeses and slice green onions, jalepenos, and olives. Spray a 13x9x2 glass dish with cooking spray. Layer refried beans, red pepper flakes as desired, browned meat, sour cream if desired, black olives, jalepenos, cheese, and green onions. Bake at 375 until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

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