Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolutions, Traditions, SLT, and Kale with Quick Pickled Shallots

I have barely had a chance to sit down at the computer this week because this little lady has been having trouble sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time.
We have learned that if she doesn't get proper sleep she turns into a crazy person.  So we've been working very hard on naps, especially since she's going to have to adjust to taking them at a new place when she goes to the babysitter starting Monday.  (Sad.)  When she doesn't get good sleep, she will be totally normal for a few minutes and then scream until she can manage to calm down.  She did this over the holidays, and again when my parents visited last week.  Thankfully Nana and Papa have a good sense of humor.
That Nana and Papa made a trip to Ikea for Christmas and Ellie got this sweet netting to hang over her bird mobile.  Don't let this photo fool you though, she pretty much never sleeps in her crib.
 We spent New Year's Eve in with the little one, though we did manage to stay up until midnight and toast the new year.  The next day we had a brunch at our house, which has become our new tradition.  We squeeze as many sweet friends into our house as we can and we all eat the best brunch foods and drink mimosas and bloody marys.  Guests brought fruit and flowers!  It was just lovely.  I made the same cinnamon rolls as last year.
 We don't mess around with the marys.
 Will cooked everything. I had a list of stuff for him to do when he walked in and he executed it all perfectly and did some of his own stuff that far outshone mine.  (Candied bacon, for example. Oh man.)
 This is about half the group, and as you can see, we were bustin' out of the house.
 The brunch had me thinking about what I want to be different about 2012.  There are some pretty obvious things, like being a mother, that will completely change the next year of my life.  I've decided to make some specific resolutions for this year which illustrate general goals that I have.
1)  Eat something green and leafy every day.  Even if it's just a salad, I plan to eat a green leafy vegetable daily in 2012.  Expect to see even more greens on this blog because I need new ideas to make them delicious.
2)  Run or do yoga 3-5 times a week.  I ran well into my third trimester but haven't done either of my favorite forms of exercise since the baby was born.  Both of these are, for me, as much mental as they are physical, and making the time to take care of myself is something I need to work really hard on. Motherhood is teaching me that I need to make an effort to spend time on myself, and this specific goal will help me do that.
3)  Set up the music studio in the basement and record some tunes.  My husband has amassed a lot of equipment and recording together is something we've been talking about for years. This is the time to make it happen.
4)  Wear red lipstick. Ok, I know this sounds silly, but it gets at my desire to become a little bit braver this year.  Growing up, lipstick always symbolized glamour and adultness to me, and until now, every time I've put it on I have felt like a little girl playing with her mother's makeup.  Now I'm the mother, and have realized that wearing something so bold is much more a matter of attitude than anything objective.  I might bust out the cowboy boots, too.

To practice number four in the safety of my living room, I tried it out wearing this lipstick.  Ellie liked it!
To work on number four, I made an easy kale dish last night with my favorite kind of kale, lacinato, bacon, and quick pickled shallots, which we've been eating on everything lately.
Soaking onions in vinegar  makes them must more palatable and gets rid of that raw heat they have.  Shallots are subtler and more flavorful than onions and pickling them makes them the perfect raw crunch to put on top of lots of dishes.  (We especially love them on tacos.)

This style of cooking works for any greens you've got and this recipe makes enough for 1-2 people.

Begin by making the quick pickled shallots.  Thinly slice a shallot.
Put it into a bowl and cover with 1 part water and 1 part apple cider vinegar.  Add a squirt of honey, hefty grind of fresh pepper, and a good pinch of salt.  If you want, add some fresh herbs.  Let this sit at room temp or in the fridge until everything else is ready.

Start the kale with 2-3 pieces of bacon, chopped, in a hot pan.  Brown, remove and drain the bacon on a paper towel, and pour off all but 1 tbsp. of the rendered fat.

Meanwhile, prep your kale by removing the thick stalks.  I used to spend a bunch of time cutting the leaves off or ripping them piece by piece, but I discovered that you can easily pull the leaves off the stem like this.
 Just pull.
 Heat up three cloves of thinly sliced garlic just until you can smell them.
 Then add your greens (I used half a bunch of lacinato for one serving) along with

  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. water or stock
  • a splash of tamari (or soy sauce. I use tamari because it doesn't have any extra preservatives.)
  • black pepper

 Stir and let the kale steam and liquid reduce.
 Pull the kale off heat once it's bright green.  I let this batch go a little too long, thanks to a special screaming baby.
Once you pull it off heat add a splash of sesame oil.  Check for seasoning before serving.

Serve warm with the cold pickled shallots on top.  Some toasted sesame seeds would be excellent on top.

Another plan I have for the new year is to start writing more personal posts here.  Some of  you have noticed the tab at the top labeled "family".  I plan to start filling it with posts about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.  Since these things aren't so much about food, I'll be making them posts with a jump so you'll have to click through if you want to read them.  (And if you don't want to read them, you can just scroll on by.)  The first post I have planned is about childbirth education and I hope to tell Eleanor's birth story.  If that's your thing, keep an eye out!
Until then, I'd love to hear what you're planning for the new year.  Do you have big resolutions? 
Finally, it's Simple Lives Thursday!  If you resolved to consume less and produce more, this blog hop is full of great ideas for you to get started.  There are some seriously smart posts down there, so check them out and link up your own!

Announcement... please re-read the simple guidelines for submission (below) so you can be sure your post matches the spirit and theme of this blog hop. Please do not submit giveaway posts. Also, please remember to link your post to one of the host blogs!

Featured Posts from Last Week's Submissions

SLT Featured Post Badge 
 We really enjoy reading your posts each week! Featured post bloggers, please grab the badge above and display it on your site! Link it to one of the host blogs' posts for the specific week that you were featured. Here are our picks from last week's submissions. Thanks to all who participated -- it is always hard to choose!
1. 12 Easy Steps to be Frugal and Green by Our Heavenly Homestead. Maria shares a great list to starting your journey on a simple and frugal life.
2. Sourdough Starters and Homemade Tortillas by The Elliott Homestead. A great tutorial on starting a sourdough starter and making your own tortillas at home.
3. A Christmas Homebirth by Simplify, Live, Love. Michelle shares about her 4th birth at home, a water birth. A lovely story of a gentle birth with the snow falling outside!
4. Vintage Blankie Baby Quilt by Simply Homemaking. Make a small blanket for a new baby out of vintage sheets and vintage hankies. It takes just a few hours! 

 These are three simple guidelines for participation: 
 1. If linking real, traditional and simple recipes, please make sure all ingredients used are whole -- such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, meats, even sugar. In order to keep the integrity of "nourishing" food, we will delete any recipes that utilize processed, boxed foods. We are definitely not going to be ingredient policemen! But, please note that this is a hop hosted by advocates of the real, local and sustainable food movements. 
 2. Please link your posts back to one of the hosting blogs. This is a common blog hop courtesy. This link helps build the Simple Lives Thursday community by sending your readers to all of the other participants' posts. We all end up sharing and learning from each other. 
 3. No giveaway away or otherwise primarily advertising oriented posts. Keep your topics to fit our simple living theme of "consume more, produce less." We will delete posts that don't fit.

1 comment:

Linda said...

The red lipstick looks fabulous on you. Very pretty.

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