Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moroccan halibut with carrots

I have been trying to cook all new recipes lately. I have also been trying to cook recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. That is just prep time ... cook time I don't care about so much. Cooking with a toddler around requires easily and quickly prepared food. I made this tonight and Joe loved it!

2 5-ounce 1-inch-thick halibut fillets
*I used Tilapia since the store I went to didn't have halibut. It was just fine.
1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (generous) cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
1 cup 1/4 x 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch sticks peeled carrots (cut from 2 large)
*Make sure the carrots are thin so they will be able to cook though in 5 minutes. Mine were too thick so it took extra time.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then with half of cinnamon and cayenne. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium high heat. Add fish. Sauté until brown and just opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer fish to plates. Remove skillet from heat and wipe out. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, carrots, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining cinnamon and cayenne. Toss to blend. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in mint. Mound carrots on fish and serve.

That's it. I served mine with rice pilaf and by the time the rice was done cooking so was the fish and the carrots. This can be prepared in 30 minutes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Clean it up and move it out

I am an organization person. I make lists for my lists. The neater .... the better. One of the first apps I got for my iphone was a grocery list and to do list. I have a goal that would be amazing, though somewhat obsessive, if I could do it. I want to have every drawer, closet and cabinet in the whole house free of clutter and only keeping things that I actually use. If someone was to walk into my house I would want to feel confident that they could open any drawer and not cringe that they would randomly choose "the shove drawer". Sounds easy in theory, but as humans we hang on to a lot of crap!

I hope to get rid of my "shove drawer." You know what that is .... it's the drawer that you have unconsciously designated to have all the crap on your counter top or floor shoved into it when someone stops by on short notice so the area appears clean. The shove drawer .... we've all got one. Ok well I have one and will be rid of it before this post is over!

Before I tackle the shove drawer I decided that I would start with the upstairs closets. I keep my beading supplies in my yoga room closet and my sewing supplies in the guest room closet and I shove all the random stuff in the armoir. It's a big mess, I can't find anything I need when I need it and it drives me insane to have all this clutter in every room of the house. I gave myself until March to do it, but I was able to pretty much get it done in 2 nights after Devon went to sleep.

Before ....

After ....

I know this picture doesn't look THAT different, but I organized all my gift wrapping stuff and found a place for my beading lap board.

Before ....

After ....

Empty (except for the stereo). Just the way an empty bedroom closet should look.

I even got that AWESOME painting hung on the wall that my sister, Elizabeth, painted for me last year for xmas.

Before ....

After ....

The left side is all my beading stuff and the right side is all my sewing stuff. It all fits nicely in one cabinet instead of 3 closets. Needless to say I threw out about 4 garbage bags of crap that was either unusable, actual garbage or outdated copies of Yoga Journal from 2005. Each of the black trays is labeled and contains and entire tray of the same color beads. Makes it easy to find what I'm looking for.

So go through you house and choose a place to start that needs a little attention and let the de-cluttering begin! If you do one cabinet a day or one area a week your ENTIRE house can be organized in about a month. That is unless you live in the real world (and have a toddler following you around un-doing what you just did) by the time your month is over you probably have to start again ;) At least you know it will only take a few minutes to straighten it up and not a whole day.

P.S. The "shove drawer" is no more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Couldn't help myself

There is a phenomena that occurs when people are in groups and a "crisis" happens. A crisis could be a vast and wide array of events so I use the word crisis very loosely. It could be a murder, watching someone hit a parked car and leaving the scene or an argument. It is called "the bystander effect" or the "Genovese syndrome" (sounds like jen-o-veece). It basically means that people assume that someone else will "take care of it" (ie: call police, help them, etc) so everyone who viewed the event essentially does nothing. It was named after Kitty Genovese, a woman who was stabbed, raped and murdered in a hallway of her apartment building. As she was being attacked a woman shouted to the attacker,"Leave her alone!" but didn't call police and went back into her apartment. He left her in the hallway to die only to return 30 minutes later to stab her repeatedly, rape her again and take $49 from her wallet. A few minutes after the 2nd attack someone called police, but she died a short time later. Approximately 38 people in her building heard the attack, but took no action.

The only reason I shared the Genovese story is to let you know where the syndrome comes from. Despite what we may think about our individual character, the majority of us are MORE likely to do nothing if other people in the group do nothing as well. What I'm saying is if you think something wrong is happening YOU have to take it upon your self to do something about it. Don't assume that someone else will. Don't worry what others will think of you because when you're doing the right thing that doesn't matter anyway.

So .... I went to a movie last night with some girlfriends. It was with Gerard Butler and Jamie Fox. It was called, "Law abiding citizen." In spite of how I describe it it was actually a good movie. It is rated R, however, and is very graphic. There is a brutal home invasion, stabbing, execution .... there is a lot of violence and there are F-bombs. It is pretty graphic to say the least and one scene left me feeling a little queasy watching my LITERAL worst nightmare play out on screen. I know I said that I liked the movie in spite of all the bad stuff I just mentioned, but it was one of those movies that you couldn't figure out what was going to happen so in that way ... I liked it.

About 15 minutes into the movie, out of the corner of my eye, I see a mother, her 2 year old daughter, her 4 year old son and 6 year old son get up and leave. What the WHAT!!!??? WHY were they in that movie in the first place? They left the theater so I was just glad for that.

They returned a few minutes later apparently back from a bathroom break.

My friend sitting with me was equally appalled, but it didn't seem to bother anyone else. Why wasn't anyone politely (or flat out yelling at her) to take her children out? Why did they sell her tickets in the first place? There weren't any children's movies playing so they couldn't have bought tickets and then gone into the R rated one. I just didn't get it.

They settled into their seats just in time for a very graphic stabbing attack. I was sick. My face was hot and I. Was. Furious. I am definitely not one of those "this-is-how-you-raise-your-children" parents. I have my opinions and will offer them if the parent asks me, but generally keep them to myself. We can't do everything right all the time. We all make mistakes and take missteps as parents. I get that. But taking your 2, 4 and 6 year olds to a violent R rated movie just seems an obvious thing to NOT do.

I got up, found a manager and described the situation.

SIDEBAR: Apparently after 6:00 they do not allow children under 12 in rated R movies. WHY that rule only holds after 6:00 is beyond me. Like the time of day should make a difference.

I told her that I was not trying to be a bitch, but now that she had the information she could do with it what she would.

I was so proud of her because she followed me into the theater and promptly escorted them out. She also saw yet ANOTHER family of 3 equally small children sitting near by and escorted them out as well.

I know that it will probably not change this woman's mind that subjecting her children to this kind of thing is not healthy. And God knows what they see at home, but at least they will think twice about dragging their little ones to a movie at that theater in the future.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

16 months: Devon (January)

Devon is just hysterical. I mean .... really hysterical.

I started keeping track of Devon's milestones at the beginning of the month. When they happened I jotted them down on the 'ole bloggedy blog that way by the time the end of the month rolls around it's already written. Easy peasy. He is doing so many new things I must have re-written this 6 or 7 times to keep up with all the changes.

He has now figured out how to get himself up on the couch all by himself much to my dismay. Within a few days he has learned to get himself down as well, although, I still have to make sure he doesn't face-plant-off-the-couch so I have to be within arms reach most of the time. I put all the couch pillows down on the floor just in case ;)He is becoming SO independent he will play by himself for about 15 minutes at a time. He will cruise around the living room playing while I make dinner or empty the dishwasher which has been such a big help.

He has started his "Movers and Shakers" classes again twice a week and he is not into them yet. He is such a shy kid ... not one to really venture away from me so it takes him a few weeks to get the hang of it and actually have fun, but when he's into it he loves it. We go to the gym 3 times a week and he has a blast there with all the new toys and the teachers positively doting on him.

Now that it is warming up I try to get him to the park a couple of times a week so he can wander around and play in the sand. Joe made a little sand box in the back yard so we'll go out there when mom is too much of a "hot mess" to go out in public ;)

He has discovered pickles and loves them. I give him a home made orange juice popsicle with dinner and he LOVES them. He calls them "pop".

His new words are cheese, duck, nana or nanana(banana), cracker, shoes, cat, car, blue, baby, baloon, bubble, peacock and shirt. Though about half of the time "shirt" ends up sounding like "shit" and peacock just sounds like "cock" and we all have a good laugh. There are TONS more that I have heard him say, but he only said them once so I don't count those. He says "pa" for cup "ba" for bottle and my favorite "What's that?" as he points to every thing around him. So curious ....

On Tuesday (a few weeks ago by the time this posts) he could "tell you what the cat/lion" said with a distinct meow and growl. By Saturday of the same week he can can do sounds for dog, owl, fish, cow and my personal favorite "bee" to which he makes a "zzzzz" sound and shakes his head side to side. Adorable. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly kids learn at this age. He makes a "funny" face (sucks his top lip in and pushes his bottom lip out) and makes "fishy" faces. He positively loves "twinkle, twinkle little star" to no end and has me sing it to him as I rock him to sleep each night, while he eats, while he plays, while we drive .... pretty much all the time. He loves books and can't get enough of them to the extent that he would rather have me read him a book than play with his toys. He still loves peek-a-boo and I am happy to oblige him in this neverendingly sweet game.