So, so much going on lately and no time to blog! On a very important note- my little boy turned 10 months last Thursday, the 28th! Here’s a little update:
He got his first haircut last Thursday. Here’s the before shot:
Much better, huh? The process wasn’t all that bad. It was definitely worse in my head than the actual deed itself.
I have to give credit to our stylist; she seemed to be schooled in the art of cutting quickly, efficiently, and moving her scissors away at a moments notice. My boy is still such a squirmer when it comes to anything that involves sitting or lying still.
Gabe seemed to be quite fond of her in the end. She adored him, and rightly so. Who wouldn’t love to squish this adorable face?
As you can see, it’s quite hard getting a shot of him without it being blurry!
He learned to sit up on his own this month and he loves doing so, using newly developed strength from his upper body. He also is starting to show interest in standing up on his feet and pulling himself up onto furniture, but he hasn’t quite got enough strength.
This month for Gabriel has been all about the chit-chat. He loves to babble and explore his surroundings. He does this really cute thing, where he’ll turn his right palm up and start to doing something that I call “preaching”. He literally starts babbling really loud while moving his arm up and down. It is too cute for words!
This is probably the closest picture I’ve taken where he’s been preaching up a storm.
Having some fun with the Easter eggs I got him. Getting into some trouble and opening up drawers. All the while I’m nervous about him slamming his fingers into one of them!
In terms of eating, we had a pretty tough month. Earlier in the month, he suffered an ear infection, which I think made him not want to eat. Well, either that, or he went on a hunger strike. Everyday was a frustrating mess with him turning his head away at foods that he was always eating so well before. I eventually found a way to trick him into eating solids. Since he loves grapes, bananas, and puffs, I used these things as bait so that whenever he would open his mouth for them, I would sneak in bites of food from a spoon. Thankfully, his eating habits seem to be returning to normal, although he still prefers eating previous said items!
His favorite toys this month have been this little blue octopus bath toy, the remote control, or pretty much anything he can get his hands on.
What a fun month this has been; so full of change and development.
So moving on to another huge milestone in our lives. We purchased a home and moved to the suburbs! Goodbye Chicago; Hello Northbrook!
This was Gabe in our old home, surrounded by boxes for an entire week. I packed during the last couple of weeks, doing most of the final packing, the week of the closing.
Here we are at our closing, signing documents, and getting the keys to our new house!We closed on Friday, March 22, and moved on Sunday morning, March 24.
I’m such a nerd. Here’s a picture of our first piece of mail!Very exciting stuff! I think Gabe’s going to be quite happy growing up in such a wonderful home and awesome neighborhood.
Before we left the city, we did our fair share of eating and going out. Here are some of the pics.
The pics are slightly out of order, but we had their seafood pancake, baby back pork ribs, Korean short rib, thai style fried chicken, some sort of hamachi dish and donuts for dessert. Everything was good, but nothing really stood out as a knock your socks off kind of dish. The restaurant is 3 1/2 stars on Yelp and I think the rating is accurate.
Chopped Chicken Liver with salted butter and toast from Au Cheval. This dish was another Timeout 2012 Best Things we ate and drank. It was SO good. And that’s surprising coming from me since I don’t really like chicken liver all that much. We also had the bologna sandwich, which was just okay. I guess I’m not a huge fan of bologna sandwiches. Who knew!
The crispy fries with mornay sauce, garlic aioli, and a fried farm egg is everything right in this world. It’s salty, crispy perfection!
A single cheeseburger, rated best burger from Bon Apetit. I don’t know if I would go as far to say it was the best burger I’ve had, but it sure was tasty. Another Timeout Best of 2012. An assortment of Empanadas from http://www.5411empanadas.com/
Everything we ate was just okay, nothing to write home to mom about. Piece pizza
On our closing night, we went to Flip Crepes Fondue class, which was a pretty straight forward, no frills aka not very hard class. The instruction was a quick 10 minute demo, and afterwards, we were left to melt our own cheeses (the chocolate was given already melted), and dunk away with their provided breads and fruit. The class is BYOB and was a fun way to spend a Friday night. Our beverage of choice for the night. Yum!
We started with their curried mussels and oysters, both of which were good. Oh, but I can’t forget that our first batch of oysters, and some of our second had shells in them- icky! It was nice of our waiter to bring us more without any questions. The main event was this crispy whole fish, which was perfectly cooked and served with a delicious romesco sauce. Mmm…
Dessert at RPM. We have yet to eat here but their drinks are great and their dessert is even better!We had their Tartufo, which is pretty much a ferrero rocher, but with hazelnut gelato in the middle. It was really clever and delicious. Our waitress also brought us a little sample of their pistachio gelato after I told her how it was my favorite. How sweet
Another sweet treat, but this time at Katherine Anne Confections. A best of timeout 2012. It’s such a cute shop, too. You can definitely miss it, especially if you’re not looking for it, but I definitely would not. It was really good.
Their hot chocolate is super rich and probably the best cup of hot chocolate I’ve had. Ever. So rich and deeply chocolaty. We also had their croissant, three truffles, and a bag of their salted caramel marshmallows to go. Wow. Looking back at all these pictures, I can’t believe how much eating we crammed in during the last couple of weeks in Chicago. Doing the Timeout challenge has been fun and a great way to explore the city and all of it’s dining, sometimes hidden gems.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a friend in town because it gives you an excuse to go out on the weekday and not sit in a cook. Not that being in the kitchen is a bad thing, but after cooking all last week, apparently I felt like I deserved a break. T’s friend from college came in from AZ last Saturday night so we’ve been showing him a few places to eat in the city. On Sunday afternoon, we took him out to brunch at the Trencherman. We’ve eaten there before for dinner, but we had never been there for brunch and our reason for going there wasn’t entirely selfless, there were a couple things on the menu that were on Timeout’s best 2012 list.
Sadly though, when we arrived, we were told that both items on the list-the kimchi bao and the green hornet drink-were currently off the menu. We weren’t too disappointed though because the menu had plenty of other good offerings.
We had split the following dishes: the pretzel cinnamon roll, pork belly ramen, kale salad with quinoa carrot bread, and their duck pastrami. I thought everything was good, but not knock it out of the park good, as I might have thought the last time we were there for dinner.
For dinner, we checked out a new sushi/robata grill in Ukranian Village called Yuzu. I didn’t take a picture of everything, especially my favorites from the Robata grill, but I managed to sneak some pictures of the beautifully presented rolls.
I would definitely recommend going there for their Robata grilled meats/veggies but I still think sushi is better at some other spots in Chicago.
*Nerd alert* On Monday night, I did something I’m kind of, but not really, ashamed to admit- I went to a Bachelor finale viewing party hosted by Arie Ludynek, Jr, a former contestant of the Bachelorette. Somehow I was able to rope a friend of mine into going, and over a few drinks, we laughed and caught up over the finale. On a side note- so happy that Sean chose Catherine!
It was fun seeing the two of them in person, but I don’t know we got anything special out of the $30 bucks we paid to attend the viewing. Oh well…YOLO! hehe…
Last night, we took T’s friend for some classic Chicago style, deep dish pizza at Gino’s East.
We wouldn’t consider Gino’s East our favorite, in fact, I don’t know if I have a favorite deep dish pizza joint, but we had a Groupon to use and it was conveniently located downtown, near our friend’s hotel. A beer to sip on while we wait for our food.We started with the combo appetizer platter with fried spinach sticks, toasted ravioli,calamari, and bruschetta. We split the Four Cheese pizza, which I could only have one slice of, but it was mighty tasty!
After dinner, we stopped by Ghirardelli and ordered some sundaes. T and I split the cookie sundae and his friend ordered a peanut butter one.
So much eating to catch up on! Last weekend, we did a double billing of restaurants; the first one we went to was Ada Street on Friday, and Saturday, we went to The Lobby restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel (think you’re fancy, huh?!) hehe.
Let’s start with Friday’s dinner at Ada Street. I absolutely loved this meal; everything we ate was perfect. The food is tapas style so you order things to share with your friends, or in my case, with the hubby. For starters, we had the salmon belly tartar with cavier, fried manchego cheese, scallop BLT, spaghetti squash salad, and an avocado and sweet potato panzanella salad. We were confused as to what panzanella meant at first but we later realized when eating it, that it meant salad with bread; nevertheless, it was absolutely divine-probably my favorite thing we ate the entire night-and that’s saying a lot for a salad!
For our “mains”, we had octopus with cannellini beans and tabasco mash, cavatelli with duck confit and a perfectly cooked poached egg, and their dry aged prime strip loin, which was on Timeouts best 100 things to eat in 2012- the star of my hubby’s night.
It was so hard to get good lighting in the restaurant since it was set for mood lighting aka too dark for good photographs. I did the best I could with lightening up these pictures via Instagram.
For dessert, we shared the brioche donuts with port wine caramel sauce and chocolate with tuscan olive oil, sea salt and toast. All I can say about this dessert was nom, nom nom!! You honestly can’t go wrong with a huge ball of sea salted chocolate with crispy toast- mmmm… Okay, so that was more than I intended to say but I just remembered how good this chocolate was.
On Saturday night, we had an equally amazing dinner at the Lobby in the Peninsula Hotel. I will always love the Peninsula since its where T and I got married. What a classy space and amazing ambiance.
For an amuse bouche, we had this cup of leek and potato soup with black truffle.
For starters, we shared the ricotta gnocci with sweet potato, brown butter and black truffle, aka heaven on a plate. This dish was so FRIGGIN amazing, I can’t say enough about how light and delicate the gnocchi were with the combination of the earthy truffle and sweet potato puree. Wow. This is a must eat dish, for sure. The foie gras terrine with almonds, grapefruit and lavender was also very good, even though I’m not a huge fan of foie gras, I would make an exception for this one and eat more than a couple bites.
What can I say, they also know their breads- yum!
This roast beast was the main reason we came to the Lobby, as it was again on Timeout’s best 100 things to eat in 2012. They brought this out for show and then went back to the kitchen and brought back the breast with white beans, escarole and garlic.
The skin over the top of the breast (with garlic in between the meat and skin) was phenomenally crispy and so delicious.
Dark meat with jus
For dessert, we had the sticky toffee pudding with coconut and raisin ice cream. It was an easy choice for me on this dessert since I hadn’t had STP since leaving London, where you can usually find this dessert on most restaurant menus. Mmm mmm!
Oh, and we also shared this Mexican chocolate martini I would also suggest checking out The Peninsula’s bar, where we stopped to have a cocktail after dinner. Even though we were super full from our meal, we couldn’t help ourselves to their bar nuts and snacks, which are yummy in their own right!
Some final touches: pound cake and mignardises (chocolate peanut butter truffle and sea salt caramel macaron-amazeballs!!)On Sunday, T and I went to the Japanese market and picked up some fresh sushi for T to prepare later that night. Here’s what he made:
I am so proud of myself this past week for making dinner almost every single night (except for Friday, when I popped in a frozen lasagna I made the previous week)
On Monday, I made Table for Two’s slow cooker Chicken Tikka masala. I’ve done this twice now and it was delicious both times. I love slow cooker meals; such an easy way to get dinner on the table.I ate this neat little ice cream find while watching the Biggest Loser Monday night. On Tuesday, I made pizza using this recipe I found hereAlong with the pizza, we had some jamon and fresh goat cheese on ciabatta that T picked up on his way home from work at a local market.The pizza, topped with mushrooms, onions, fresh basil, fresh mozzerella cheese, oregano, salt and pepper turned out quite yummy. On Wednesday, I made spaghetti bolognese using this recipe. It was a good base to start with but I definitely tweaked the recipe using a lot of different spices here and there. Sprinkled with some parm and served with a side of wheat bread (unpictured).
Crumbs cupcakes for dessert! This was my first time having Crumbs, and the cupcakes were quite moist and HUGE, I swear they were bigger than my first. Flavors: Sea Salt caramel chocolate, Monkey, Cannoli.
On Thursday, I made Chicken Parm for the first time from Cooks Illustrated. The chicken was crisp and delicious and the sauce accompanying the pasta was simple to make.
I didn’t really bake much this week so I made up for that by making Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies from Cooks Illustrated. See a pattern here? I just discovered CI and got a recent subscription so I’ve been perusing their videos and recipes. I liked how soft these cookies were but I thought they lacked flavor; I definitely think the cookies could have used some cinnamon and vanilla extract. Oh well! Better remember that for next time.My afternoons lately have consisted of drinking some sort of tea (usually vanilla chai or Earl grey) eating a couple cookies and catching up on my blogs. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon while the baby sleeps.
My son is 9 months old today- holy cow! I can’t believe in just 3 short months, he’ll be a year old. Someone please hand me some tissues while I go sob in a corner at how fast he’s growing! So many wonderful things have happened this month, starting with an exciting 2 front teeth growing in. They first appeared a couple weeks ago and they’re already big hunkers in the front; it’s really no wonder why he’s been so crabby and drooly this month. The doctor also told us that we should be expecting another 2 in the front, for a total of 4 teeth up top!
his usual face this month
I feel like this month, it’s all about the vocals; he leaned towards the da da syllables when he first started speaking, but now I’m notice more ma ma’s and ba ba’s, in addition to the d sounds. I still don’t think he’s placed the da da’s with the hubby and the ma ma’s with me, but we’re trying to reinforce who we are at every chance we get by pointing at each other whenever we hear him say the words.
Gabe’s been doing so many cute things this month, one thing in particular is he’ll hold onto a special red triangle block and crawl around the floor- all the while raising his arm with this block in the air- it is the strangest, yet most endearing things in the world!
“Banging blocks together is so much fun, momma!”- What I imagine my son is saying right here.
trying to instill good brushing habits at an early age- ha!
In terms of eating, he’s still doing pretty well at eating his three meals a day, plus 2 snacks- one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. He’s becoming much more vocal when he wants something, like cheerios, for example. If he doesn’t get his way, he’ll start flailing and screaming until a handful is placed in front of him and he’ll happily munch away. His pincer grasp has become quite strong and he’s able to get more food in his mouth, instead of it being all over the floor.
Grandma also noticed while she was here that Gabe’s becoming more aware of our dog and he seems to be dropping food on purpose so Sonoma, our jack Russell, can grab his “extras”.
They say at about this age, some babies start showing interest in walking or cruising (holding onto furniture and moving about) but the only thing my baby seems to be interested in is crawling and being held by mommy and daddy; Not that I’m complaining though, because I’m sure soon he’ll no longer want to be held and I’ll long for these days again.
ultimate bed head
Sleeping and napping has been going relatively smoothly, minus a few hiccups whenever he’s been sick or teething. His pattern lately has been naps at around 9 or 9:30 till about 11:30 or 12, if I’m lucky. He’ll sleep at night around 6:00-6:30 and get up again at 2 or 5 am to eat and then go back to sleep till about 7:45-8:00 a.m. Such a change from the first 5 months of his life where we were only getting 1- 1/2 hours of sleep at a time!
Getting him changed has become quite a show of dramatics lately for us. Long gone are the days where he would lay patiently and quietly while his diaper was changed and his clothes put back on; now, he’s flailing, turning, kicking, and squealing- making it quite difficult to change even one diaper, let alone put back his pants or nightwear.
His favorite toys this month have been the remote control (thank god we have two!), our IPhones, my breast pump strap (for some reason, he loves gnawing on the thing!) and his little red triangle block.
Favorite foods: apples, bananas, cheerios, anything sweet (we’re trying to stick to fruits in the morning, veggies in the afternoon, plus meats for dinner)
Current weight: 20lbs 1 ounce
Current height: 28.75 inches
I can’t wait to see what month 10 has in store for us!
And in the blink of an eye, it was over. Can you believe it’s already Monday? I hope I’m not the only one who thought this weekend flew by!
We kicked off the weekend festivities on Friday night at Owen & Engine, a British style gastropub with amazing food. T had a friend in town that had flown in from Korea that morning and had been in meetings all day, but somehow miraculously wasn’t jet lagged and was able to meet us out.
The lighting was horrible inside and seeing that I’m too embarrassed to turn on my flash on my Iphone, I had to rely on Instagram to brighten up these photos before posting. We had the Bone marrow, Scotch egg and oysters to start, and the fish and chips and burger for our mains. I really enjoyed the Scotch egg, Oysters, Fish n Chips, and burger, but the burger was by far the highlight of the meal. So. freaking. good! After dinner, we went on a mini bar crawl and caught up over some more drinks.
We had a very slow Saturday, being that we stayed out kind of late the night before. On Saturday morning, we decided to tackle another menu item on TimeOut’s Best things we ate and drank in 2012- this time at the Slurping Turtle. Aside from the Tan Tan Men, we also ordered fried chicken, ceviche, and the classic ramen broth with chicken.
We both agreed that the Tan Tan Men could have been spicier and that we both enjoyed the Shoyu Wonton Ramen with chicken, more.
On Saturday night, we took advantage of my mom being in town and my brother, T, and a bunch of his co-workers and friends met out at Sun Wah bbq, a Chinese restaurant that specializes in Beijing Duck. Aside from roast duck, duck fried rice, and duck soup, we also ordered a bunch of veggies and a few other mains to balance out our feast; we seriously had so much food! I should have taken pictures at the event but I was too busy stuffing my face throughout the night that I didn’t take any!
Sunday morning I went to an Interval training AND Zumba class, for a double workout session, that left me feeling pretty energized after a somewhat wild weekend. Afterwards, I went grocery shopping and bought some stuff for meals for the week and for the Oscars that night. T made his go-to appetizer called the Baird (sp?), it’s made from smoked salmon, mangos, sour cream, fresh dill, and capers- it is seriously delicious with some crackers. I also quickly made these BBQ Chicken Quesadillas with some leftover shredded chicken I had from the week before- minus the bacon, they were pretty good and a cinch to whip up.
On the baking front- since my hiatus from the blog-I’ve still been baking/cooking up a storm in our kitchen. I made a whole-wheat pumpkin bread on Friday morning because I had run out of the banana bread that I had baked earlier this week. I’ve made pumpkin bread twice this month; I can’t get the fall spices out of my head, I swear I’ll blink and it’ll be September again before I know it! I followed this recipe I found online, it was one of the first recipes that popped up when I googled “whole-wheat pumpkin bread.” I used whole wheat pastry flour since that was what I had on hand, one regular egg, and one flax seed egg. The end result was a flavorful, moist and spicy pumpkin bread; chock full of chocolate chips- yum!
Some other adventures in the kitchen…
Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies made from almond meal that I made by putting some sliced almonds in my food processor. The cookies were delicious and they looked pretty up until I tried taking them off this baking sheet and they proceeded to completely fall apart on me into little crumbs; oh well, at least the crumbs were delicious!My first attempt at making these Madeleine’s wasn’t as successful as I would have liked, but I forgave myself since it was my first time. They turned out too crispy on the edges and didn’t have the typical hump that most madeleines have. Oh well! I see myself reattempting these some other time, maybe using my trusty, favorite cookbook!
I also made Profiteroles for the first time, these turned out pretty well.
Brunch at Longman and Eagle last weekend to cross off another Timeout’s best 100, the chicken and waffles.
Grown up mac n cheese. Glazed and Infused donutsTo get in the Valentine’s Day spirit, I baked some Red Velvet cupcakes with red sprinkles Another go at Dorie’s World Peace cookies- they are the best with a cup of afternoon tea!
Hi Monday, it’s nice to see you so bright and early! I spent most of the weekend recovering from a cold that I caught from my son-starting with symptoms on Thursday; I finally started feeling better on Sunday night. Sad though, because I had plans to attend a friend’s 30th birthday and instead, spent most of my time lying around.
On Thursday night, although I was sick, I still managed to make some meatloaf for dinner (with the help of my mom watching Gabe). I followed America’s Test Kitchen recipe, and minus my heavy hand with the spices-thyme, especially- the meatloaf turned out tasty.
This wasn’t my favorite recipe- I still think my favorite is Ree’s Meatloaf, which doesn’t use a lot of complicated ingredients, and the flavor is simple, clean, and has a yummy, sweet topping- but I enjoyed eating it.
Friday night T and I stayed in and ordered my favorite type of comfort food pizza from Pizzeria Serio. We’re always on the look out for new pizza joints that do the kind of pizza we enjoyed eating in London. The main requirements is that it has to be brick oven style with a crispy crust and a chewy interior. This pizza pretty much fit the bill; it was quite yummy!
I loved how easy and simple this was to make, just throw some spices together with a bit of flour and egg in a blender and you have hot and delicious breakfast in less than 30 minutes!
We topped ours with some powdered sugar and maple syrup. Yum!
On Sunday, I was feeling a lot better so T and I made it out to celebrate the Chinese New Year with some friends who had invited us over for lunch and company.
Gabe was especially lucky to get his first (and maybe last) red envelope, Thanks Mike and June! What you didn’t get to see from this picture was how curious he was to put the envelope in his mouth and eat it… no Gabe!! No!!!
The spread was quite lovely!
And it’s official… my baby loves da ladies!!No stranger anxiety here, my friend. We capped off our weekend with a trip to Nando Milano for restaurant week. I would highly recommend making a trip out to this cozy Italian restaurant in Wicker Park. It’s located on desirable strip of nearby stores, bars, bakeries and other restaurants. You know you’re in for a real treat when the host greets you with a buonasera in a real, authentic Italian accent!
T and I did the $33 and $44 restaurant week menus, so we could choose from a variety of menu items. We had the majority of things fried, but boy, were they perfectly cooked! The aranchini balls were crunchy (not oily) with warm risotto filling on the inside and the calamari had a nice ratio of batter to squid. Our entrees were equally delicious and memorable. It was a nice way to end the weekend on a higher note- and hopefully less sick one going forward.
This morning, I made Smitten Kitchen’s Date and Almond bars. They turned out sort of crumbly, and when I first tasted one, I wasn’t sure I was a fan of the flavor combinations together (orange zest, cinnamon, and almond) but after a few more bites, the taste totally grew on me and before I knew it, I had finished a bar! I couldn’t find her recipe online so here’s one I found on another blog.
No matter how hard I tried to avoid the sickness-sanitizing, cleaning, and avoiding germ infested places-my son has gotten very sick.
Dealing with a sick baby is no fun, as one can probably imagine. Along with sickness, comes difficulty sleeping-at both nap and bedtime- and a messed up sleep schedule. You probably can’t tell from the picture below that I have a runny nosed, phlegm-coughing and downright sick baby on my hands- but I do! Poor baby, he is dealing with the sickness as best as he can and managing to keep a smile on his face; god bless him.
And don’t forget poor mommy, since Gabe has been a nightmare to put to bed, I’ve been in a slightly grumpier/negative mood. As much as I want to pretend like my son’s sickness isn’t affecting me, it’s super hard! I also tried working out this morning, but my body just wasn’t having any of it. What did help get me in a better mood, though, is being in the kitchen this morning.
I made these healthier carrot cupcakes from Ellie Krieger, made with a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose- plus, the frosting doesn’t have any butter in it! Since I didn’t have applesauce on hand, I used 1/2 cup of oil instead of the 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 cup natural applesauce the recipe called for, which makes them slightly unhealthier, but c’est la vie! The muffins turned out surprisingly moist, considering this was my first experience using whole-wheat pastry flour. Paired with a sweet cream cheese frosting, liberally sprinkled with shredded coconut, the cupcakes turned out tasty.
3/4 cups powdered sugar (measure first, then sift)
1 zest lemon
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 12 muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray
Combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium size bowl; whisk together
In a large stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add brown sugar, eggs and oil until mixed together. Add shredded carrots, canola oil and vanilla; mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
Evenly pour batter into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a clean mixer, combine 4oz cream cheese, sifted powdered sugar and zest of 1 lemon; mix until smooth.
Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with shredded coconut and/or finely chopped walnuts.
I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday weekend-not only was the celebration on Friday, but it also fell on Superbowl weekend-score! We started off the early morning with some gift opening, which has recently become a favorite of mine since I created an Amazon wish list-such a good idea!
Nothing excites me more these days that gadgets for our kitchen. Seriously, get me some knives or baking tools and I’m happy as a clam! Oh, and personalized onesies and cookbooks don’t hurt either
Later that morning we had an inspection on our *hopefully* soon to be new house. I know it sounds like the opposite of what I want to be doing on my birthday; however, I’m so excited about our home purchase that I didn’t mind the inspection one. little. bit! Afterwards, my mom met us out and the four of us went out to lunch at Fujiyama, a cozy neighborhood sushi joint in Northbrook<— Tarek approved!
We shared two sushi platters, Tonkatsu, a maki roll and some karagi (fried chicken)
Instead of cake, T surprised me by stopping by a local bakery to pick up some sweet treats to nibble on from Tipsy Cake.
Unfortunately these macaroons did not live up to the most amazing ones I’ve had so far in the city from here and here, but at least the cupcakes were super moist and delicious!Later that night, T and I were able to sneak off to a nice, romantic birthday dinner he had planned at Bavettes Bar and Boeuf.
Our diverse meal consisted of bone marrow and oysters to start, elote corn and mashed potatoes as our sides,fried chicken and a gigantic rib-eye steak for our mains. After dinner, T surprised me with a night of bar hopping with some friends. What a fun way to spend my last birthday in my 20′s!
On Tuesday, I made Skinny Taste’s Slow Cooked Sweet Barbacoa with a side of cilantro lime rice and black beans. The pork turned out a bit dry but the flavor of the sweet-and slightly spicy- sauce made up for the lack of juiciness of the meat!
I also made lemon bars for dessert/breakfast yesterday from Averie Cooks. I can’t say they were the best lemon bars since I don’t have much experience with making/tasting them, but they were pretty darn good!
Dinner last night was another Skinny Taste recipe, the Sante Fe Chicken. We topped ours with light sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese, with a side of homemade guacamole (not pictured).
And this morning, I wanted to use up the rest of our frozen berries from Costco- so I decided to make Joy of Baking’s Buttermilk Berry muffins. I love how moist and soft these muffins are and how tall they turned out using Sally’s tall muffin’s tips.
Preheat oven to 425 F/ 220 C. Grease a 12-tin muffin pan with cooking spray or line with baking cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and oil; set aside
In a small bowl, combine sugar and zest of one orange; rub together with fingers until sugar is moistened.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and zest, baking powder, baking soda, apple pie spice, and salt.
Using a rubber spatula and a light hand, gently mix wet ingredients into dry until just combined; do not overmix or muffins will turn out tough.
Gently fold in the frozen berries (I do this step prior to fully incorporating the wet into dry ingredients to prevent overmixing)
Pour batter into muffin tin and fill all the way to the top (doing this will create the domed effect) Place muffins into a 425 F oven and bake for 5 minutes. Without opening the oven, reduce temperature to 375 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Muffins may be enjoyed slightly warm or at room temperature.
I can’t believe my baby is 8 months old today! So much has happened in the past 2 months (I didn’t do an update last month) and Gabe has become quite the character! Last month, he started doing his version of the army crawl. In the beginning, he wouldn’t crawl for long before getting frustrated and wailing, probably thinking to himself “Mommy, come pick me up, this is getting too hard!” It was cute and heart wrenching all at the same time. It was also interesting to see that he wasn’t crawling for the sake of crawling, but only when he desperately wanted to reach something, like the remote control. He’s a lot faster now but not so fast that we have to baby proof everything just yet.
Like most babies, he doesn’t like getting dressed- whether it’s after bath time and time to get dry and ready for bed, or because he has a dirty diaper- he’ll usually scream and/or flail until it’s over.
The cutest thing we’ve noticed recently is his light mumble under his breath; it’s almost like a whisper, and he’ll make sounds like da da da, bah bah bah- it is so cute!
In terms of eating, no problems to report on that front- he loves ev-er-y-thing, from sweet potatoes, to green beans, to peas and carrots. I love this boy! He eats solid meals three times a day- breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm and dinner at 5:00pm- in addition to nursing 4-5 times a day. I’m getting more anxious to feed him things that we eat because he takes such a great interest in everything at the dinner table; he’ll literally reach out to grab things that are on our plates or going in our mouths.
One of my favorite times of the day-besides nursing and bath time- is when he’s on my lap and we’re reading books together. We’ve noticed that he prefers to read certain books, particularly the easy to flip Elmo books, and he’ll turn the pages himself.
He still loves his jumperoo and will bounce to his hearts content. I have about 20 minutes before he gets disenchanted in it and starts crying out to be picked up again.
All in all, we’ve had a great 7 months, albeit a few tricky ones in the beginning, but dare I say, it’s only getting better as the months fly by? I can’t wait to see what the next month has in store for us!