Lemony Fennel with Lima Beans and Dill

Lemony Fennel with Lima Beans and DillMore fennel, you ask? Yes, more fennel! Can’t stop, won’t stop. But I might have stopped if I hadn’t seen this recipe on Heidi’s blog. I was particularly taken with the “giant beans” part. The only way to improve upon beans is to make them GIANT, and they reminded me of my favorite Greek dish, gigantes (gigantic beans!) You can actually order said gigantic beans dried here in the US, but they are pricey. Lima beans are a great substitute, and I am happy to be successfully cooking them in the pressure cooker again after the Lima Bean Incident of 2014.

Lemony Fennel with Lima Beans and DillI made a handful of changes to the recipe, but I’ll post the original one below. I juiced the lemon onto the fennel while it was cooking instead of slicing it and tossing it in as Heidi does. I needed a lemon explosion! And I left out the honey and white wine because I have aversions to them at the moment. But I am looking forward to trying this again in my non-pregnant days!

Giant Lemon Fennel Beans
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

4-5 small fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Half a lemon, scrubbed and sliced or cut into wedges
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups cooked white beans (corona, cannellini, etc)
1/2 cup water (or reserved liquid from cooking the beans)
1/2 cup roughly chopped dill

-To prep the fennel, remove each bulb’s tough outermost layer. Trim each bulb’s base, and slice along the length into 1/2-inch thick wedges.

-In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil starts to ripple and move away from the center of the pan, add the fennel. Scatter the wedges across the surface of the pan rather than gathering them into a clump, and let them sit without stirring until the sides touching the pan caramelize and brown a bit, roughly 2 minutes or so. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the fennel has cooked through. Add the honey, lemon, salt, and wine to the pan, stirring to combine. Let the wine heat and reduce for a minute or so before adding the beans and water. Cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes.

-These beans are good at just about any temp- hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serve topped with a big handful of chopped dill and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

Adventures in Pregnancy: 24 Weeks

24 WeeksFirst things first, let’s break out the confetti and party hats: I passed my glucose test! With flying colors! I was really worried that I was going to fail it because I had read that you aren’t supposed to fast before this one-hour test. And then when I got there the lab tech told me otherwise. So I was pretty sure I had a three-hour version of this test coming up, and a 10-12 hour fast. To put this in perspective, if I don’t eat something roughly every two hours…look out. The worst part is that you have to chug this really sweet drink in 5 minutes…on an empty stomach. I have learned (the hard way!) that if I had even the tiniest sip of water on an empty stomach, I throw up immediately. So, great dread and trembling were my companions before getting the news. But hurray and hallelujah, apparently my body is doing a good job of processing sugar! And huge thanks to saintly Hillary, who not only got a sitter for her kids so she could come with me, but also chugged a Mountain Dew in solidarity. Friends like this come along once in a lifetime. I am so grateful for her!

We didn’t have an ultrasound at this appointment, but we did hear baby’s heartbeat, and that always makes me cry, even more than an ultrasound does. There’s something about being able to hear but not see that makes it all the more mysterious and magical. The Doppler was so loud that it startled him, and he kicked, which was really adorable too. Sweet baby.

I have now gained a grand total of 11 pounds, which is good, and I’m measuring right on track for where I am in the pregnancy. My iron is a little bit low, so I will be taking a supplement for the rest of the pregnancy (I think?), but hallelujah again, so far it has not made me sick. Apparently orange juice is the key–Vitamin C helps with absorption!

24 WeeksThe doctor said that baby’s next growth spurt will be at 28 weeks, but I am feeling happy to at least be obviously pregnant now. Huzzah! In other happy news, we got the carseat and stroller frame this week (thanks, Mom and Dad!). There is much work to be done in the nursery and in general thing acquisition, but there is time, and that’s a good thing.

Physically, things are about the same, which is fantastic. Every now and again I have a rough night and ask Eric if he is still interested in having the next baby, but on the whole, I feel great. Tired, of course, and hungry like the wolf, but great nonetheless. It’s funny to realize the pregnancy markers I don’t have–my nails are not really stronger, and my hair does not seem to be any thicker or more awesome. Oh well. At least the cocoa butter I am using to prevent stretch marks smells delicious, like melted chocolate. Let it never be said that pregnancy doesn’t have its perks!

The Last Bookstore

The Last BookstoreA quick note: we have our 24-week appointment on Monday, so I will write a pregnancy update on Tuesday when we have new information! Today I want to show you one of the awesome places we went this weekend. I constructed this whole date out of fun things to see in downtown LA: Grand Central Market, The Last Bookstore, the fashion district (really the fabric district), and the flower district. I wore Eric out! But we had a great time. I want to share a lot more about it, but this bookstore deserves its own post. It was so amazingly inspiring. The building was originally a bank, and the huge columns and vault doors are still in place. What is it that makes something that’s been repurposed for something else so charming? Maybe we just like to imagine the people whose heels once clicked on these floors as they came in to make deposits.

The Last BookstoreIt’s a gargantuan bookstore full of well-priced treasures, but honestly my favorite part was the book art. Just look at this beauty.

The Last BookstoreUpstairs there are more books, a yarn shop, and a collection of artist’s galleries. I know! I was pinching myself too.

The Last BookstoreThis is a fantastic thing for a book lover to lay her eyes on: 100,000 one-dollar books?!

The Last BookstoreA book window!

The Last BookstoreAnd a book tunnel!

The Last BookstorePart of the one-dollar book room is organized in rainbow colors. Magpie’s delight!

The Last BookstoreI love that they have art galleries. Lots of impressive stuff.

The Last BookstoreBut the yarn shop was my favorite, of course.

The Last BookstoreI feel quite confident that I could have spent an entire day here. The book desk at the checkout made me very reluctant to leave indeed.

The Last BookstoreAs did the cozy leather armchairs.

The Last BookstoreAnd this lovely display in the building’s entrance. I am so happy that I randomly saw a picture of this bookstore in Los Angeles magazine. (If you’re at all local, it’s totally a great buy: $10 for 12 issues, each of which unfailingly introduces us to something cool in LA that we had no idea about. And the articles are pretty interesting too.) More downtown delights to come!

The Getty

The GettyA few weeks ago Eric and I went to the Getty. We’ve lived here for almost three years, and we had never been! This was part of our project to get out and explore a bit before the baby comes, and we had an awesome time. The Getty is built out of huge rough-hewn blocks of Italian travertine, and the whole complex is just gorgeous. It reminded me so much of Europe. And before I forget, I have to tell you one of the best things about the Getty: it’s free! You have to pay $15 to park, but when you divide that between the people in your car, that is really dirt cheap for so many galleries and gardens. Attention, future out of town guests: you will be coming here with us!

The GettyFrom the garage, you ride a little train up to the Center. It was a gloriously sunny and cool day, and we spent our time waiting for the train reading the little schedule for the day that they gave us. There was such a fun feeling of being transported to a magical world of art!

The GettyThis is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s a great view of the travertine.

The Getty

And a view through one of the walls.

The GettyThis is the cactus garden out at the edge of the property. I love the castle feeling!

The GettyWe went out to explore the main garden first because we knew it would get hotter as the day went on. We fell in love with these bougainvillea “trees.”

The GettyAnd the central pond. I didn’t realize I matched the flowers!

The GettyThere are many excellent things about Eric, but one of them is that his arms are long enough to get us both in the frame when he’s holding the camera. Oh yes, I married well.

The GettyAnother charming thing about the Getty: sun umbrellas.

The GettyAnd this. Tell me you didn’t just think this was Paris for a second.

The GettyAfter exploring a few galleries, we had lunch out on the patio (random fact: best pickles I ever had in my life!) and headed to the map exhibit in the Research Center. Yes, maps! I didn’t take any photos inside, but clearly I needed to make a note of this book for future reference.

The GettyMy favorite exhibit, though, was the one on hatching. There were some incredible drawings in both pen and ink, and they even had magnifying glasses so that you could see the lines close-up. Drawing with ink is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, and this gallery was very inspiring.

The GettyAs we were about to leave, we discovered this: the sketching gallery. They give you paper, charcoal or pencils, and a place to sit and draw. *Amazing.* I wish I hadn’t been so tired because it would have been really fun to try. Ah well, next time!

The GettyIt was a really fantastic day, and we didn’t see even close to everything. I like knowing that more treasures await us next time.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry CaterpillarI wanted to write tonight about a little something that’s been on my mind. FOOD. When I got pregnant, my mom told me food would taste better to me than it ever had in my life. I was terribly sick and didn’t really believe her. But now, ahahaha, I know exactly what she meant.

There is a very hungry caterpillar on the loose in Pasadena, and it is ME. Yesterday I documented a day in the life in photos (will share soon!), and a lot of those pictures were…food. I have not yet been at all near that caricature of a pregnant woman who begs her husband to go out and buy ice cream/Cheetos/burgers at midnight. However…after my first dinner tonight (a morally upright salad), I did consider asking Eric to go get me a burrito…even though I ate one two days ago. I sort of brought it up as a joke, but…if he had been on board, I would have been just fine with that. In the absence of a burrito, my second dinner tonight consisted of a giant bowl of cereal. I really kind of hate cereal. But it was one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted: so cold and crunchy.

A few days ago, I was finishing up my walk when I suddenly caught a whiff of Chinese food. We hardly ever eat Chinese food, but suddenly I became fixated on the idea and spent 20 minutes on Yelp finding the best local restaurant to go to. And then I spent a good chunk of the evening planning a culinary date in Downtown LA for this weekend. Tonight I was giving Eric a hug, and he told me I smelled like fries. I made a face of total bafflement, and then thought, “Hmmm, fries…” (even though I haven’t had any this pregnancy and they don’t sound particularly appealing). I am pretty much just laughing at myself all the time. And I am also in a state of wonder: it amazes me how wide and varied our food choices are, and a tangy vinaigrette or a juicy orange is as much a source of utter joy to me as a beautiful sunset. Well, even more joyful. Because I can eat it.

I just find all of this so hilarious that I wanted to write it down. And when I’m reading Eric Carle’s masterpiece to our sweet baby in a few months…I’ll be remembering these hungry days and still laughing about them.

A fitting addendum: this morning I woke up from a dream that I was eating salad to find that…my mouth was actually opening and closing. ha!

Curried Quinoa Lentil Salad with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Lentils Quinoa Brussels SproutsThis recipe had me at roasted Brussels sprouts. Oh, how I love them. I am always looking for protein-and-nutrient-packed dinners, and this one was too lovely not to try. Reader, it was delicious. Even when placed in an ignoble cracked bowl.

Lentils Quinoa Brussels SproutsThe Brussels sprouts are sliced thin and roasted with shallots, and they are just so beautiful.

Lentils Quinoa Brussels SproutsHere they are ready to eat. While they’re roasting, you cook the quinoa and lentils in the same pot. What?! I will never cook them separately again. This is such an awesome time saver, and it works perfectly. (Those of you who already knew this, don’t laugh at me too hard).

Lentils Quinoa Brussels SproutsIt makes a meal that is so utterly satisfying and filling. I haven’t used curry powder in ages, and I forgot how warm and comforting it is.

Lentils Quinoa Brussels SproutsI made a few changes to the recipe here and there, and I’ll mark them in parentheses, but I want to share the recipe as I found it. Who knows, you might like it better that way!

Curried Quinoa Lentil Salad with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe from A Spicy Perspective

1 1/4 cup dried lentils
2/3 cup dried quinoa
3 cups water
3/4 tsp. curry powder
8 oz. Brussels sprouts
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 3-4)
2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 cup DeLallo Sun-Dried Peppers, chopped (I skipped these)
1/2 cup chopped scallions (Skipped these too, for pregnancy palate reasons)
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the quinoa and lentils in a medium stockpot with 3 cups of water, 1 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. curry powder. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy and the lentils are cooked, but firm. Remove from heat, but keep covered until ready to use.
-Meanwhile, cut the Brussels sprouts in half and slice thin. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet with the sliced shallots and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat then spread them out thin and salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crispy. (You know what else would be really delicious? Caramelizing them!)
-Fluff the quinoa and lentils and move to a large bowl. Add the crispy Brussels sprouts and shallots, chopped sweet peppers, chopped scallions, and the juice of half a lemon. Toss and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

April 2014 Goals

April 2014 GoalsI love having these goals, as simple as they are. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but they really give some structure to the open-ended form of the month, and I love to come back and check in with them. I also love how they capture what my life is like during any given month, providing a snapshot of what I was passionate about, what I was working on, what I was hoping to accomplish.

This month, my main focus is the book proposal. All of you lovely Krug veterans will recall that this is for the book I wrote in 2013. I made some headway on the proposal last fall, but then was derailed by morning sickness. I am so happy to say that this is no longer a pipe dream or wish upon a star. It is almost finished! Every day I am chipping away at it, and it really and truly will be sent off to my first-choice agent this month. Hurray!

My other big project is the baby’s quilt. I don’t think I will finish it this month (especially since we will be out of town for a week), but I’ve got all the fabric cut and the pattern about halfway laid out. So this month will be all about sewing and ironing, ironing and sewing. But it will be so exciting when I have the whole quilt top finished!

I’ve loved the walks I’ve been taking with this sweet baby along. It’s my goal to keep that up for the duration of my pregnancy.

Woot, we are going on a few trips this month! I booked this weekend getaway in Carlsbad when I had the first glimmer of hope that I might eventually feel human again. I can’t wait to explore the town and visit the flower fields! And maybe pick strawberries too. It’s probably early yet for sweet ones, but hope dies last. And then we’ll be going to Maui for a week! The whole trip came about because of an impromptu comment Eric made and an enormous storehouse of frequent flier miles he hadn’t been able to use for any of our other trips (I married the right man, in one million different ways). I am still kind of pinching myself that we’re going, and I’m so looking forward to some relaxing days at the beach, delicious pineapple and passion fruit, and having a whole uninterrupted week with my husband before our baby comes. What a treasure.

I’m keeping the goals short and sweet while I’m pregnant (and probably even shorter and sweeter once the baby comes!), but taking pictures is a perpetual goal. I never ever regret it. Happy April!

March’s goals have been updated here, and, just for fun, here are last year’s April goals!

Update, May 2014: Woot, the proposal is off! I had a truly great time putting it together, and it was definitely one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done in my life. And now we wait. But at least we feel confident about what we’ve sent out into the world:) The baby’s quilt is coming right along–more than half of the strips have been sewn, and then I’ll stitch them all together to form the quilt top. And then I get to go back to the fabric store to choose the backing. That is going to be fun! Walking is going well–some days I walk longer than others, but I suppose that’s to be expected, given the demands of everyday life. I am looking to get more consistent with the long walks in the next couple of weeks, though, as I start preparing for labor. It’s hard to describe how wonderful our time in Carlsbad and Hawaii was. I just so love getting to spend uninterrupted time with Eric, exploring new places, trying new things, and talking about anything and everything. He is my favorite person on earth. And yes, all this bliss is captured in 800 photos. A great month!

Adventures in Pregnancy: 23 Weeks

23 WeeksIt is wonderfully strange and awesome to see a reflection of myself in a mirror, or even to look down and notice the roundness between me and my toes. The shirt I am wearing in this picture is pretty loose, thus the belly hugging, but hopefully you can still see that I’m growing someone amazing in there. And that someone is kicking, kicking, kicking! I love it. Except when he kicks straight down. That is less than fun. But definitely bearable!

I stumbled upon the answer to my age-old question about pregnancy posture this week when I realized that a pregnant woman actually has to throw her shoulders back to counterbalance the extra weight of her belly, and thus not topple over. Aha! Standing up straight is sort a different matter when you’ve got a passenger. However, I do admit that I am not standing up terribly stright in that photo. Sorry, mom!

It’s been a good week around here, and I think (though I say this in a whisper) that I might be getting a little bit less tired? Some days I can manage without a nap. But I am still really, really hungry. This weekend we went out to dinner, and I asked Eric what time I should make the reservation. “Do you want it to be first dinner or second dinner?” I asked. Hahaha! Some of you may remember that on The Office, when Pam was pregnant she shared second breakfast, first lunch, second lunch, and first dinner with Kevin in the break room. I thought that was a really caricatured (yet funny!) idea, but…it is all true! Breakfast usually lasts me until lunch (I just successfully made the switch from bagels to chia pudding–huzzah!), but there has to be a substantial snack at 3, dinner at 5, dinner at 7, and a significant snack at 9 and 11. If I don’t eat right before I go to bed, I will be awake and starving within two hours. Nonetheless, I don’t really feel like I’m eating so much more than normal in terms of actual volume, and I don’t feel any qualms about it. I only eat when I’m hungry, and there’s no mistaking hunger. Plus, I’ve learned the hard way that something like plain yogurt or cottage cheese is the right answer. No crazy sweets or fries cravings for me yet (but there’s still time for that!)

I am feeling pretty good, and am still so grateful for every moment that I am not nauseous. I still have at least three or so rough nights and a few rough mornings per week, but this is nothing compared to the first trimester. It’s amazing to feel like myself again.

I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about. A few months ago, when I was still in the throes of sickness, for some reason U2’s song “40” came into my mind. I love U2 (Achtung Baby may never be topped), but I hadn’t listened to that song in years. I played it on my computer and remembered that it comes from Psalm 40, which is a beautiful meditation on hope and waiting and relief. It struck me then that, regardless of religious belief, pregnancy is every mother’s 40: 40 days and 40 nights of the flood, 40 days of Lent, 40 weeks of growing a new life. It was such a comfort to me at a time when I was feeling so sick, such a powerful way to find meaning in my physical condition. And even though I’m feeling so much better now, this 40 reference still means so much to me: 40 weeks of praying and hoping and waiting, 40 weeks of growing and changing, 40 weeks of anticipating what is utterly unknown but is sure to be unimaginably incredible. I am so happy this thought alighted on my shoulder.

In other news, I started reading Great with Child today, and it is fantastic. Just a beautiful and deep and earthy meditation on being pregnant and all that comes with it. I can already tell I’m going to want to read it again as soon as I am finished. I have a big stack of pregnancy and birth books waiting for me, but this going to be the one I remember.

Baby’s Quilt: Getting Started

Baby's QuiltI have been so looking forward to writing this post! A bit of backstory: since I was so sick for the first 15 weeks or so of this pregnancy, it never even crossed my mind to make anything for the baby. Which is kind of crazy. Because I love making things. And I love this baby more than anything in the world. I would say I spent several weeks getting back into the groove of non-nauseous life, and then the wheels started to turn. A quilt! I did some quilting last year and always intended to make a full-size one, but got side-tracked by my sickness. Once I felt better, I knew I could do it! (One side note: I would never have believed I could do it were it not for Elise Blaha‘s posts and tutorials. She is fearless, and such a great example of tackling a project you’ve never tried before just for the sheer fun of it!). The theme of the baby’s nursery (insofar as there is a theme) is maps. By which I mean that we are going to hang a lot of maps on the walls. I love maps, and I have a ton of them, but they seemed especially significant for the nursery. I want our child to know that he can go anywhere he wants to go, and that the world is ridiculously full of wonders, all waiting to be discovered. With this in mind, I chose blue and green for the quilt colors: land and water.

Baby's QuiltI went last week to a fabric store, only to find that it was closing: no! Their selection was limited, but I decided to grab some colors and play with them. I liked them all, but I felt they all skewed in a turquoise direction, and I needed more diversity. So I left the store empty-handed and tried another one the next day. I am really proud of myself for choosing a range of values and two solids of each color. Those of you who know my love of all things bright and fun will consider this no small achievement, I am sure! But I did break the rules a little bit. There was one extra blue fabric that I just could not part with. I loved it too much (it’s that slightly tie-dyed-looking in the middle on the bottom). And so there are six greens and seven blues. But there’s more ocean than land in the world anyway, right? That’s what I told myself. Part of the reason I have been waiting to share the fabric is that we’ve had an unusually gray and cloudy week, so there hasn’t been much good natural light. These fabrics are even more gorgeous in person, I promise!

Baby's QuiltHere they are lined up on my ironing board. These are the scrap strips leftover from cutting the triangles. I love the way they look so much that I’ve already quilted the blues and greens together–maybe when the baby is older I can use them for a pillowcase. In any case, too pretty to throw away!

Baby's QuiltI actually can’t fit them all in the frame, so here are the rest of the blues. I have never picked out this many fabrics, and I was honestly kind of intimidated by it. But I was really happy to find that my instinct kicked in. When I found something that worked well, I just felt it. And I sent a picture to Eric for a second opinion just to be sure!

Baby's QuiltI hope that I can finish the quilt before the baby comes, and so far it’s moving pretty quickly. I bought the fabric on Friday of last week and finished the cutting by Tuesday or so. I’ve laid down a plastic sheet for working out the pattern, and then it will be time to sew, sew, sew! I asked Eric to help me with it, and tonight he knelt down on the floor with me and offered his mathematical expertise and design savvy. I love that we’re doing this together. I will post another update when I’ve made some progress on the quilt top. So far we have three rows laid out, and every time I walk in the room I can’t believe how great it looks! I love these fabrics so much that I had to take a picture of the scraps before throwing them away. And that’s a good place to be with a quilt, I think.

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0We’ve been working on turning our office into the baby’s nursery, and I knew I was going to move my art supply shelving into our bedroom. But…I needed to reorganize it first. I did this about two years ago, but…I appear to have a acquired a bunch more stuff since then! So this was last week’s labor of love. In addition to making more efficient use of my space, I wanted to make it kind of cute. I dug out these craft tags I got at the Depot and my favorite letter stamps and made labels for each little drawer. I love the way it turned out!

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0These little guys are seriously the MVPs around here–I use them for everything. I got them at Michael’s for $1.50. $1.50! For the entire alphabet! They have a bunch of different fonts, but this is the one I keep coming back to. They also have really cute little inkpads for $1.50 too, in bright and happy colors, but I decided that black would better stand the test of time and sunlight.

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0Working with such tiny stamps definitely takes a while, especially for the tags that had tons of words, but I loved doing it. (And thankfully, Eric never complains when I take up 70% of the dinner table with my art projects. As soon as this was finished, I started cutting fabric there with my giant mat. He is a saint, I tell you.)

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0Now, the stamping is far from perfect, but I love it that way. That’s how you can tell a human made it.

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0Yay! A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0More organizational glory. I attached the tags with 3-D foam adhesives that I use in scrapbooking, since some of the fabric drawers were very full and curved.

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0Here’s the inside of the stamp/inkpad/glitter mist/clay box.

Art Supply Organization, Version 2.0Up top are some craft books, paintbrushes, watercolor trays, tiny canvases I’m going to paint for the nursery, and my scrapbook albums (that crazy fat one is for Project Life, and the white things are the foam adhesives for making the pages lay flat. When I’m done I’ll craft a new flexible spine to cover the binding). On the left you can see the edge of my wire cloth earring organizer. Now, what’s missing? My yarn! It lives in baskets in the living room. And my scrapbooking stuff has its own little set of drawers. And there is also more fabric in the living room that needs to be put away in a safe place. So basically, I have more work to do! But this felt like a great step in the right direction. Knowing where everything is makes getting into a creative mindset so much easier!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...