To Market, To Market

Is it ever the “right time” to start a family?  And how do you know when that time is?

When Beef and I decided we wanted a baby, part of our motivation was the fact that stuff wasn’t as fun as it used to be.  It felt like a lot of places/holidays/activities would become magical again if only we could experience them through the eyes of a child.

Of course, I wanted to be a mom for all the “right reasons.”  But I also wanted to be one of those women rolling a stroller down the street with big sunglasses and an even bigger coffee.  I just wanted that.

Today, I lived one of the moments I’d dreamed of. The farmers market.  Read about it here on the HuffPost.

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3 Places that Make My Life Easier These Days

Previously, I’ve complained that I would be fired if I did my job the way other people did theirs. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to sing the praises of a few Chicago businesses who just could not be getting it any more right for me lately. Here goes:

1. Kingsbury Street Cafe

Across the street from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods and adjacent to VIP’s (Chicago’s Finest Adult Entertainment) (going to skip the hyperlinks on both of those), there lies one of the finest dining experiences in the city. Rose Duong and her top-notch staff serve breakfast, lunch and dinner that’s not only out of this world, but also vegan-friendly, if you’re into that sort of thing. I brunched with my brother-in-law recently, and he ordered pancakes “for the table.” Apparently, that’s a thing (it applies to fajitas, too), and you’ll be glad it is when you order Rose’s lemon pancakes FTT. It’s also a great place to take kids ‘n babies. There’s a fantastic kids’ menu, a parking lot, and the tables are far enough apart that you don’t have to worry about your baby getting sneezed on– or your baby sneezing on someone else.

2. Town & Country Pediatrics (their site is currently under construction) 

For the first six months of her life, I took Posey to a different pediatrician’s office. It was fine, but I wasn’t 100% satisfied. We recently gave T&C a try, and I feel like I wasted the first six months of my daughter’s life. First of all, they’re open 7 days a week. Second of all, this is how they operate: Posey’s had a runny nose for a week, but her breathing was kind of loud last night so I wanted someone to take a listen to her chest. I called the office at 7am. The answering service answered. They told me they could make me an appointment with the nurse practitioner as early as 7:30am. SAY HUH? Since when does a doctor’s office offer to get you in before you’ve even had a chance to pee yet? We went in at 8:30 and were out of there in mere minutes, my nerves calmed– and the rest of the day ahead of us.

3. Frog Temple Pilates & Yoga Studio

I’ve taken classes from Randi, the owner, for years. She’s an amazing teacher. If she taught German or knitting, I’d take that from her, too. The studio has great pre-natal classes if you’re expecting, and if you already plunked yours out, Marcia teaches a Body After Baby class on Sundays. But here’s a secret: they let me bring Posey with me. During the week. I set the car seat down in the corner and pray she’s still young enough not to get mad… and get my Rolling Like a Ball on. Tuesdays at 10am is the secret bring-your-baby hour. First mat class there is free.

Ladies Who Lunch, But Shop @Target: Avocado Chicken Salad

Beef read You’re Moroccan Me Hungry and thought it was a cop-out filler post. I disagree. I’m not a chef; this isn’t a cooking blog; it wasn’t my recipe– but I know of at least one person who made it after reading, so if it touched just one life, then my work here is done.

A little while ago, I heard a friend of mine who’s also post-baby talk about her healthy good-fats lunch salad, and I was intrigued. The other thing that’s been recently intriguing me is food shopping at Target, because it combines errands and makes life easier once in a while. So I came up with this.

Presenting Avocado Chicken Salad ala Target! Serves 2.

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (I poach and shred)
  • 2 100-calorie packets Wholly Guacamole
  • A couple tablespoons diced red or green onion
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 2 Arnold 100-calorie Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins

Toss the first five ingredients. Just throwing it out there– I did mix in a little leftover cooked quinoa for some extra crunch. Serve open-faced on toasted sandwich thins with Baked Kettle Chips and Vlassic pickle spears. Also, Target is the only place I’ve found that sells  COCONUT La Croix!

You’re Moroccan Me Hungry

When I make dinner in the crock pot, a certain part of my soul feels justified in being a stay at home mom. I made this last week, and it was heralded throughout the land as being “one of the better things I’ve made in a while.” High protein + high fiber, kind of a different weeknight dinner idea. Nothing actually indicates that this recipe is Moroccan, I just decided that I think it is.

From Real Simple.

Moroccan Beef Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks (I bet chicken would work, too)

2 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1 large red onion, cut into wedges

1/2 cup dried apricots (Exotic!!!)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground ginger (I finally invested in a jar of minced ginger from Whole Food to keep in the fridge. Sound investment).

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Kosher salt

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed

Several fistfuls of baby spinach

Directions:

1. On the stovetop, brown the beef chunks. This is important. I didn’t do it, felt guilty, got out tongs, removed all the meat, browned it, and replaced it in the pot.

2. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beef, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, apricots, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water.

3. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender, on high for 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

4. Add the chickpeas to the slow cooker and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach until wilted.

5. If you feel like it, serve with couscous and roasted almonds sprinkled on top.

Cat breading: all the rage

I have two cats. I also have a loaf of bread. I ALSO have a lot of time on my hands

Wait, you’re ALL ordering the small salad?

Took the baby out to lunch today with three former co-workers, all with kids under 14 months. Being the lady that I am, I planned on ordering the chopped chicken salad (entree portion, of course). But I ordered 3rd. Behind the other two women who ordered the small version. Dressing on the side.

Crap.

I upped the ante by asking for NO dressing- don’t even bother bringing it! Take that.

Over lunch, we had a delightful conversation about our wills and who would raise our children if we weren’t around. Also, what our husbands would do without us.

Just a little pleasant salad talk.

Then I went home and ate my second lunch.