Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I'm Lovin'

In honor of love month, here's what I'm lovin' TODAY...

Cooking with a wok.  It's the closest cooking gets to art and it's completely deceiving.

Upon first glace, and more importantly, first bite, one would guess the meal took hours to prepare.  Hours of chopping fresh broccoli and green pepper, grating fresh ginger and orange, and hand-breading thin strips of juicy sirloin steak.  But the beauty of cooking with a wok is the combination of throw-together-whatever-has-been-in-the-fridge-too-long, a bowl of cornstarch for breading, a cup or two of Minute Rice, and vegetable oil, and voila, you have art.  This, plus the sheer sensation of the sound of the sizzle (how's that for a tongue twister), is totally worth the annoyance of storing such an awkward device.  We love our wok and now take pride in our wonderful patina ;.

The makings of a hilarious baby personality.  The last week or so, Cruz's cold has seemed to settle in his throat, making his little voice sound raspy and hoarse.  This, mixed in with his newly developed giggle, is enough to make me play peekaboo for a half hour straight.  Sometimes, it's hard to tell if he really thinks we are funny, or if he is giggling at how ridiculous we look.  Tonight, as I was changing him from his clothes to his pjs, we put him in his crib in nothing but a diaper while we checked on supper.  It turns out, Cruz loves hanging out naked in his crib.  So for about twenty minutes, Beau and I took turns blowing on his tummy, tickling his sides, and playing peekaboo in between the slats on the crib.  Although he laughed every time, his eyes said it all. 

"Wow...You two are easily entertained."
A baby and a sock monkey.  One of the very first things I bought while Cruz was in utero was this sock monkey.  I have no idea why I like this gangly thing so much; however, I've always been slightly drawn to misfit toys.  Last weekend, Beau pulled the sock monkey from its hiding place and introduced him to Cruz.  An instant friendship developed and before I knew it, the sock monkey had a name, passed down from a Chicago legend.

Ron Sock-o.

A baking day.  This weekend, I baked.  At Christmastime, I swore to myself and my sanity that I would never bake sugar cookie cut-outs again.  They are time consuming and messy, and frankly, I would prefer to eat the Pillsbury sugar cookies that come in a tube.  And while this vow was a liberating experience at the time, it wasn't until I found this perfectly pink heart cookie cutter at Kitchen Essentials that I began to reconsider this vow.  I began to mentally justify why Valentine's cookies would be easier than Christmas, with a single cookie cutter, two colors of frosting instead of twelve, and the absence of the countless other Christmas distractions that fog my cookie baking pleasure in December.  So, on Saturday, I put on my apron, pulled up a brand new recipe, and sought to avenge and conquer my cookie-baking stigma.

Call it the new recipe, the apron, or the audience, but it was as if Martha Stewart had stepped into my kitchen that morning.  I mixed, rolled, floured, and frosted, all while my two favorite valentines kept me company in the kitchen.

What else am I lovin'?

A welcomed casserole we had forgotten about in the freezer.  And it just happened to be lasagna.  

The way that I absolutely can't wait to pick Cruz up from day care after school.  I get so excited, it's hard to catch my breath.  And even more satisfying is the first smile I get when I greet him in the baby room.  It's one of the most validating parts of being a working mom.  The minute I see that face, it's Cruz time.  

The box of assorted chocolates I bought myself, along with a bottle of Cascade, some eyeliner, and three packs of baby pacifiers at Wal-Mart tonight.  I had the box opened and two caramel filled chocolates devoured before I even pulled in the driveway.

The realization that Spring Break is a mere month away, which means green grass, warmer temperatures, and long walks with baby strollers are getting achingly close.

Cruz's funny sleep positions.  The other night, Beau was making some insurance calls at the kitchen table, and I was doing a quick dust in the living room.  Cruz usually likes to watch, so I gave him a front row seat in his lambie chair.  A few minutes and quick vacuum later...

My little heart breaker.  He steals my heart over and over again.     

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