When life gives you lemons…

Today, Trader Joe’s was out of individual lemons. Personally, looking at the bags of 6-7 tiny lemons, I saw opportunity. It’s not like when Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell individual jalapeños. That’s just silly. 

Anyway, needing one lemon’s worth of zest to make panko crusted chicken tenders, I found myself with a surplus. A surplus, a husband who doesn’t work Mondays, and a rare 80ish degree day in July in Boston. That sounds like a perfect storm of baking.

Lemony deliciousness

Lemony deliciousness

I haven’t baked in quite some time, and I honestly don’t know if I love lemon more than chocolate. It is a very real battle for my soul. But Jenna’s lemon bars from eatliverun have a special place in my heart. They are one of my all-time favorite desserts, right up there with the glazed lemon cookies and the sea salt fudge brownies

The weather is beautiful, the baby is sleeping hard after a happy day of playing, and the smell of lemons is pretty stuck in my hands. Life is good.

And I thought a newborn was tough…

Things have gotten so so so much easier, and dramatically more draining at the same time in different ways. The pro’s and con’s of a 7 month old…

 

Pro: It’s warmer, and easier to take the baby places now that she can sit in a high chair, doesn’t require carrying the very heavy bucket carseat, and notices/enjoys her surroundings.

Con: It’s warmer, and it’s very hot to carry a baby in a carrier, no matter how much you want to. She also needs way more stuff like toys and food and all kinds of crap when it used to just be like “diapers, check, breasts, check, let’s go”.

Pro: She is very interactive and curious and loves to play.

Con: I am only one person.

Pro: She’s eating solids which is fun.

Con: She changes her mind about what she does and does not like within one feeding. Making things extremely messy.

Basically, the child approaches everything with gusto. And this is a wonderful thing.

Sort of sums up her general "I'm here to party" attitude.

Sort of sums up her general “I’m here to party” attitude.

Anyway, there are things that I can count on now, like a long morning nap. I can count on her to let me know when she needs to nap. I can count on her to be able to play quietly (or not so quietly) with one of the dozen toys I surround her with on a soft blanket in her room while I feed myself or shower or get to pee. It’s so nice to get back to some sort of routine. Of course the downside is that when that routine breaks and she cries herself to sleep or whines all day or starts crying when we’re out, it THROWS YOU OFF.

Flexibility has never been my strong suit. If you ask people “what’s Dana like? no one has ever said “oh Dana? she’s super flexible and totally chill””. No one. Ever.

A relatively trying trip to the Cape (baby in pack n’ play in hotel room…) did include these delicious tacos…

Mmmm

Mmmm

And we finally made it to Sofra bakery in Belmont this morning, after living here for over a year. Pastries and lattes, A+.

I cook some, it’s easiest to cook stand bys where I can go to the grocery store and know what I need to make chicken saladThai lettuce wraps, tilapia with tomatoes, black bean tacos, panko chicken tenders, variations of burgers, etc. It’s a decent repertoire, added to the fact that it’s summer and a good pack of chicken sausage and some buns goes a long way with a nice fresh salad. I honestly haven’t added anything new. A good batch of Flour granola, some cookies off of the back of a Craisins bag (not amazing), and then lots and lots of purees. I’m ready to feed her real things because this stuff is getting a little dull. Besides fruit and vegetables she’s had bread, chick peas, yogurt, your basic baby foods. She did get to try Zaftig’s challah french toast yesterday. And if you’ve had it, you know that’s a win.

The last couple days have made me believe that I can and should be running races this fall. For my health and for my sanity. I have a jogging stroller and an uber cute running partner and despite what my quads are currently saying, the ability to do a couple half marathons.

Her dad is pretty cute too. And not opposed to some stroller pushing.

Her dad is pretty cute too. And not opposed to some stroller pushing.

I’m so hungry.

My days are spent eating. Meals, snacks, snacks in between snacks. Nursing makes me SO hungry and thirsty. I’ve tried to keep healthy snacks around everywhere but cookies are sneaking their way in.

The last couple weeks have marked another transition to yet another version of normal. Miss Amelia will now play comfortably in her jumperoo for ALMOST long enough for me to get dinner ready.

Momentarily occupied

Momentarily occupied

This is not any specific amount of time. It’s just 5 minutes before everything would be completely finished and ready to eat, she is completely finished and ready to be picked up. Alas, this is better than what it has been. I was able to make Jenna’s Tex Mex Chicken lettuce wraps with one of the best avocados I’ve had in a long time (thank you Trader Joe’s).

photo-4I went for a couple jogs in this frigid March but decided I’d have better luck keeping up with it if I wait for a couple degrees of improvement. (So I tell myself so that it’s not so sad). It didn’t feel amazing, I’m clearly starting from even less than square one, but it did feel great to be out there and moving. I’m really looking forward to the spring. Until running conditions improve, I did accidentally stumble into the grand opening of the new New Balance store and get myself some new tennis shoes for walking and general life events.

I created one of my better pizzas last week with Trader Joe’s pizza crust and sauce with some very browned roasted garlic chicken sausage, fresh mozzarella  and sautéed red onion. Using the pizza stone and having it preheated to about 425 really does make a huge difference in your crust. I don’t bake the crust first, just slide the whole made pizza from a floured pizza peel  onto a pizza stone coated with cornmeal in the oven. I bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the crust feels and looks done.photo-5

I did a little bit of baking this week and made the lemon cookies that I love so much and Flour’s cornmeal lime cookies which I had eaten but never made before. I always make the Flour cookbook cookies about half the size that she puts in the recipe. Then I don’t feel so bad about grabbing one, or five, during the day. I love citrus dessert and these are no exception. They’re tangy and a very homey tasting cookie.

photo-2

Still plugging away on my granny square blanket for Sandy, we’re at 50 squares out of 63 so, close! Now if this baby would just nap…