Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 months old!

Our little Ben is 3 months old today! It was a big week for us, as it was my second week at work and Ben's first at daycare. He seems to be adjusting fairly well, and the teachers say he loves watching the other kids. When I dropped him off on Monday, several of the kids were chattering and his eyes got so wide, as if he were thinking, "Hey, there are other people who speak my language!" He will be home tomorrow with me as we gird up for what will either be a HUGE, MASSIVE, INCREDIBLY BIG BLIZZARD (as breathlessly promised by the local TV weather people)... or probably more likely, an inch or two of snow that the National Weather Service is predicting.

At three months, Ben:
  • Has discovered these wonderful, tasty things called hands

  • LOVES his mobile.

I mean, seriously, people, have you SEEN how awesome this is? I could just watch it for hours and woe to anyone who lets it run out without immediately running back in my room to rewind it. What do you mean, you're so sick of hearing Brahms' "Lullaby"?

  • Will play on his activity mat at home or at daycare for several minutes on his own. But it's hard work, so sometimes he just has to stop & take a nap. Note that he still has the giraffe's leg firmly gripped in his hand.

  • Likes being swaddled and sleeps better that way, but is developing into quite the little Houdini, starting from his burrito baby pose with either his Miracle Blanket or his Gloege/Cline blanket...

And gradually working himself out...

Until we find him like this some mornings:

More pictures to come!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Recipe Review

Veering a little from our normal blog topics, we thought we'd share our favorite new dinner recipe. It was an entry from one of the contestants on Food Network's "Ultimate Recipe Showdown." She didn't win, but the recipe sounded so good we had to try it. It has definitely earned a place in our recipe rotation! I am not a beer fan, but the rosemary-ale jus is fantastic.

We have slightly adapted it for two people. The original 4-serving recipe is linked below.

Pumpernickel Pastrami Panini with Rosemary-Ale Jus

Adapted from original recipe by Emily Hobbs, available at Food

Makes 2 servings

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ~1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dark beer (we used Shiner 100th Anniversary Centennial Ale)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (we used dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3/4 of a yellow onion (we used a sweet yellow onion)
  • 1 1/2 cup apples, cored & thinly sliced (~1 1/4 apples; we used Fuji)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ~1/2 lb shaved pastrami
  • 4 slices pumpernickel bread
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced sharp white Cheddar


Core & thinly slice the apples; thinly slice the onion.

To make the rosemary-ale jus, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium sized saucepan (we used 2 qt. pot), over medium-low heat; whisk in beef broth, beer, garlic, rosemary, onion powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and allow to simmer.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, apple, salt and the additional 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until light golden brown and tender; remove from skillet and set aside.

Divide pastrami equally between 2 slices of bread; top with apples and onions, and white Cheddar cheese. Top with remaining bread slices.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet; place 2 sandwiches in pan, place the bottom of a heavy skillet on top (we used a flat-bottomed 10" omelet pan), and press down to flatten.

Cook for 2 minutes, flip, press down with heavy skillet again, and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until crisp. If you're making more than 2 sandwiches, repeat process with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and additional 2 sandwiches; slice sandwiches in half, diagonally. Divide rosemary-ale jus into 2 small bowls, and serve with panini for dipping.