Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Cream

There are things that are common in other parts of this country that aren't so much in the south and when we southerners encounter them, it's with bemusement. Really thick yankee accents. Lacrosse. Men wearing Speedos. Snow.

We like snow, though. We celebrate its unusual arrival by buying lots of milk, bread, and eggs; by shutting down schools and daycares. By finding random objects and testing them as sleds...flattened cardboard boxes, errant political signs, pool floats and innertubes, plastic bags. And by testing our ability to drive on ice (spoiler alert: we really suck at it).

But some of us celebrate by staying inside and drinking hot chocolate (and apparently--based on the run at the grocery--having french toast). And by making snow cream! When I was a kid, this was one of my mom's favorite things to do. Though I have to admit that I was hardly enthusiastic back then. Any time my mom made something on her own, I felt cheated out of a storebought version (birthday cakes in particular). I was kind of a rotten kid at times. Now that I've matured, I can appreciate such things and yesterday, I took the opportunity to make snow cream for the first time!

To make snow cream, you need a big ol' bowl of reasonably clean snow, some dairy or dairy-like product, sugar, and vanilla. Fortunately, when I sent Mr. Eats out in the first part of the snowfall to get formula for Baby Eats, I reminded him that he needed half and half. If not for that large container of half and half, we might have been forced to use something I shall not mention. Anyhoo.

Snow Cream
One large bowl of snow (not packed; scrape away any layer of ice on top to get to the powdery stuff)
1/2 to 1 cup milk, cream, soy milk, or whatever milk- or cream-like product you have
1/2 to 1 cup sugar (to taste)

Mix the milk, sugar and vanilla (about three drops per half gallon of snow) in a small bowl and then stir the mix into the snow. If you need more sugar or vanilla, pull a small amount of snow cream out of the bowl and melt it slightly to mix it in (do not put vanilla into the snow cream or you will get frozen spots of nothing but vanilla; it won't mix). And then you have snow cream!

Monday, January 25, 2010

More than one way to cook a cabbage

They say that breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day. Or, rather, that you're supposed to eat an additional 500 calories per day if you're breastfeeding. It depends on who's saying it and their motivation. The Lactation Mafia will say anything to encourage new mothers to breastfeed.

I'm not entirely sure that's true. I think the more likely case is that if you're breastfeeding, you simply don't have time to eat, so it's easy to lose weight. Particularly with a newborn. "Baby Eats" is an appropriate moniker as this kid wants to eat just about every two hours and it'll take 30 minutes for each feeding. Factor in diaper changes and other care and that leaves about 30 minutes of free time between feedings. Not really enough time to prepare and eat a meal. I have rarely had a warm dinner in the last four weeks. The upside is that she is growing like a weed and is now the size of a normal newborn. She's happy and healthy.

Another thing "they" say is that cabbage is good for engorged or sore breasts--an inevitability of breastfeeding. Not eating cabbage; putting cabbage on your boobs. Essentially, you get a good, clean leaf of cabbage, stick it in your bra and when it's cooked, you should be relieved of engorgement and/or pain. "They" never say what you're supposed to do with that now-cooked leaf of cabbage. I tossed mine out.

The cabbage didn't really help me, so I was left with a head of cabbage. I am not one to waste food (even cabbage), so I made a nice side dish with the un-boob-cooked head.

Fried Cabbage

(makes 2 servings)
1 half a head of cabbage, washed and cut into thin wedges
2-3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 clove (or equivalent) of minced or chopped garlic
1/2 a small onion, cut into thin strips (optional)
dash of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Liquid Smoke
apple cider vinegar

Over medium high heat, saute the garlic and onion in a large pan until browned (don't burn the garlic; also, it will pop so be careful). Add the cabbage, sugar, salt, pepper, and a couple of drops of Liquid Smoke and fry until the cabbage is done. I like mine rather al dente, so that would be about 5-7 minutes at most. After it's cooked, add a splash or two of the vinegar.

I served this as a side to potato soup that Grammy Eats made while she was visiting over the weekend. I'd share her recipe with you, but I refuse to make potato soup. I will tell you that it does NOT contain bacon or any baked potato accoutrements that a certain "Irish"-themed restaurant based in Nashville puts in their very inauthentic potato soup. Potatoes, milk, butter, flour, salt--that's it. I think. There's some trick to the soup part with the flour. Mom's cornbread and potato soup are two things that I'll just let her continue to cook for me. Some things should remain sacred, y'know.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome Baby Eats!

I'd intended to post a lot more over the Christmas holiday, but we got a bit of an unexpected gift--Baby Eats decided to arrive early!

I actually went into labor on Christmas Eve and was in labor full swing on Christmas day...and didn't realize it. I thought it was false labor. It really never occurred to me that she'd arrive 6.5 weeks early.

So I checked into the hospital around noon on Christmas day and grabbed a snack on the way in case they wouldn't let me eat.

And they didn't let me eat. For another 31 hours (yes, I counted; I was STARVING despite the IV--it is no good subsitute for food). Not until they were certain that we'd slowed labor down and that she'd stay in for a while longer.

My first meal? A heaping helping of mac and cheese, sweet potatoes...and broccoli (since I have to set a good example now). I have never been happier to have food. I have never gone that long without eating.

Okay, confession: I didn't really go that long without eating. The Husband sneaked in a little here and there for me (because I BEGGED) but when I say a little, I do mean a little. A few slices of fake bacon. A roll. Some fruit snacks.

Anyway, I was still confined to the hospital, so we settled in for a while. The food in the maternity ward is much better than other parts of the hospital, from what I understand. This is a good thing. I was actually pretty pleased with it. Though after a few days, I tired of mac n cheese and grilled cheese (I was still battling horrid acid reflux, so I was limited in my choices).

Though we thought she could hang in there until she was at least 34 weeks gestational age, Baby Eats decided to make her grand arrival on December 27th around 10pm. Perhaps she was sick of cheese?

After spending a little over a week in NICU, she got to come home, where we're all adjusting just fine. I am tired and tired of cold food (inevitably, she wants to eat just as I'm about to eat) but we're all doing well and happy she's healthy. We just need to get her fattened up. She's 19.5 inches long but still under 5 pounds. But considering how much she eats, I'm predicting she won't be that tiny for long!