What We Ate: January

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI know we are already halfway through February (which is both shocking and thrilling, considering Edith asks every morning “Mom, is it summer yet?”), but I wanted to record some of our eats from January. One of my goals for this year has been Sunday lunch. It is really the only daytime meal in a whole week that we eat, all four (five) of us, sitting down, together, and I wanted to make it substantial and nice. It is always simple, but a treat when compared to our other lunches throughout the week.

Here are some of my Sunday lunch offerings so far:

Smitten Kitchen Lazy Pizza Dough + Pizza: I used Deb’s recipe, made it on Saturday night, and then shaped the pizzas the next day. I wasn’t perfectly happy with the dough, but it was my first time using that recipe (I usually use Alton Brown’s recipe), but I already know a few things I would do differently, starting with weighing my flour, something I have learned makes a big difference in all attempts at making anything that requires a dough. Instead of margherita pizza, I did a quick homemade pizza sauce with canned tomatoes from my mom’s pantry (we are down to two jars left and I will mourn their passing), some mozzarella, and Italian sausage. Simple, delicious, a treat for lunch.

Another Sunday lunch favorite was this Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, broccoli, and bacon. It is simple and easy, but also delicious and feels like a special meal. I have also enjoyed putting together a big salad and eating that with homemade bread or grilled cheese. Another Sunday I made a loaf of bread and served chicken noodle soup (this is the basic recipe I use… the lemon juice sauteed mushrooms are the best part) and all of those have felt like a treat.

January has been a lot of simple, repeat meals as I made a big piece of this Chile-Rubbed Braised Beef, froze it in meal-sized portions, and have been eating it weekly. It is great as tacos or just on top of some rice (ideally cooked in bone broth for the extra flavor). I love serving it with garlicky green beans from Salt Fat Acid Heat.

We do a lot of brussels sprouts in the winter and while cooking them with bacon and maple syrup is my go-to, these roasted brussels sprouts with a warm honey glaze are really delicious and add a nice variety to the meal plans. I serve brussels weekly and weekly John Henry sits down with a look of profound concern on his face when he sees brussels sprouts. He gets two on his plate and has to be convinced that he is a brave boy before being willing to eat them. I am pretty certain he is always surprised by how small a trial they actually are.

Finally, my latest foray into the world of bread was cinnamon raisin bread from The Bread Bible. I love this book, love this recipe, and have been very pleased with the results. The bread is a two-day process, but always worth it for some nice toast for breakfast. I accidentally discovered that if I bake the bread after dinner and then leave the loaves out on the cooling rack under a clean dish towel overnight, they don’t get stale, cool perfectly, and get a lovely crust. I am going to do this with every loaf of bread I bake now.

What big sisters are for

John Henry and I were gearing up for a serious battle of wills over the egg on his plate, which he usually scarfs down every morning. I went upstairs to help baby for a minute and came down to this: she helped him finish his entire egg, without a single complaint or whine from her brother. I am indebted to her.

Life in a polar vortex

Our faces when we looked at the forecast:

We’ve been living under piles of sweaters and fleeces and blankets, the heat is at 63 and it still runs almost constantly, and the cold literally takes one’s breath away.

I feel particularly grateful for a warm house this week, and especially that we are able to give our children a warm and safe place to live.

In other news, Drew is still the front page headline of the day, almost four months later, and all of the time that he is awake we spend watching him, laughing at him, or trying to make him laugh. Edith especially has blossomed into a sweet and helpful big sister. Both boys are so lucky to have her.