Friday, September 26, 2008

Applesauce with the little Girls.

The spoils. Don't be fooled, those strings of skin are the best part of the day.

So this is how you make applesauce with little girls.
  1. Get all the babies, blankies, baby strollers
  2. Get all the dress-ups
  3. Get snacks
  4. Take everything to the barn.
  5. Oh, yeah, and have more adults come (thanks Trieste and Trish)
  6. One more thing...while you're making really healthy local, organic applesauce with apples that your little ones picked themselves...feed them McDonald's for lunch...because you're busy and they LOVE it more than the applesauce.

Jane sampling the ingredients.

The finished product.

Alice picking apples.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

Jane: the spring in my step.

I am starting to get these little bursts of unexplained excitement. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was driving this joy into my heart, and renewed spring in my step. I finally figured out what it was on our last quick trip to Logan to see Nana & Papa. Are you ready for it? Here’s the big unveiling: we are growing out of the baby years. Whew. It’s an amazing feeling. We could drive without stopping to nurse a baby every few hours, without having to bring all the equipment that babies inevitably bring. We were all able to face forward in the van, we were all able to sleep in the same room, we were all able to eat the same food, and we only had to bring one size of diaper for a baby who can tell us when she went poo. Those of you who are entrapped in the baby years…must certainly understand my elation. I only hope the best for those of you who are immersed in it…but am happy to never look back. I will happily hold your newborns, cuddle them, feed them, put them down for naps, and then…I will hand them back over to you when it’s time for bed, or when they won’t stop crying. Please rejoice with me! (And, cross your fingers because that last 99.9% birth control method didn’t work.)

Beside this point…we had a wonderful time in Logan. The kids’ favorite part was climbing up and down papa’s mountain into the “hundred acre woods.” Alice loved some one-on-two date time with mom and dad at the Aggie/Utah game (Lily and Canyon wisely opted out). We loved playing with cousins, babies, aunts, uncles, seeing the pond at the Zollinger farm, eating tons (literally) of AMAZING nana food, going to the farmer’s market to see all the democrats assemble, and visit and laugh and talk with the Joneses. We can’t wait to come again, and should come when the hundred acre wood is covered in that white stuff (snow? is it called?).

Dustin and Alice on the "mountain"


Dr. Indie Canyon Prusso (Dr. of Archeology, of course)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meat II: Eating My Words

Our first backyard 'rooster' dinner.

So, in a previous post I exposed my sentiments of, what Dustin and I like to call, skeptical environmentalism. In other words we are environmental because it’s practical. It makes sense that you should eat meat that comes from one animal and is raised in your backyard. Just as it makes sense to use “real” plates, instead of paper, because you have a dishwasher and paper plates cost money. So, to eat my words we bought half of the neighbor’s steer and to further make my point (and to get rid of half of the enormous monthly chicken feed bill) we slaughtered a dozen of our chickens (all roosters) on Saturday. It was, to say the least, an amazing experience. Katrina, the famous localvore blogger of Kale for Sale, came to join in the fun. I was grateful for her presence because she did bring a sense of order to the whole operation that Jeremy and I would have probably botched. Dustin suddenly had to “work” and so I was left to oversee operations on my own. The little kids were always near and interested, but not totally aware of what we were doing exactly, except that it must be fun because we were adults and seemed to be ‘playing.’

We started off with a prayer. It somehow seemed appropriate as we were about to extinguish living beings. I prayed that we were grateful for this experience, for the chickens who would provide sustenance, and very grateful that we didn’t necessarily have to rely on this as our only options for meat (read: COSTCO). I truly felt like Ma, only lacking an apron and a bonnet. Jeremy was the non-contested self-appointed chicken killer and did a great job. This time he held onto the chickens until they stopped moving…this was much less dramatic than watching them flip around without a head. We then blanched them in some almost boiling soapy water and Katrina and I began plucking. Whew, what a job. Nobody was kidding when they said that it’s time consuming to pluck a chicken. I was REALLY glad that Katrina was there then. She was great and even had a system to the plucking madness. The plucking was done in the heat of midday with our backs scrunched, most uncomfortably, over a plywood table. We had a great time visiting as we worked and Jane was good to help out. She really wanted to pluck her own chicken.

Here are the chickens--plucked but not yet gutted.

After all twelve of the chickens were plucked we began the cleaning and gutting process. I was a little nervous about this part, I haven’t opened up any kind of animal since the crayfish in seventh grade. Jeremy began with a tutorial and showed us how to cut the chicken open to pull out poop (by far the worst part), intestines, stomach, liver, heart, esophagus, to finish by scraping and cleaning any other residue that was left. At the end, they were looking like true “freezer” chickens. Katrina delved right in and was marvelous…I followed and soon began to like this process. It was kind of fun to be able to recognize the organs by touch as you’re pulling them out. Katrina and I had an easier time because our hands were smaller to get into the chicken. We then bagged and froze them. It was an exhausting, yet rewarding day.

So, I decided that we should eat a few of them for Sunday dinner. I made a brine of salt and water and let two chickens soak in it overnight. The next day Lily and I went out to the barn with some red potatoes, carrots, and red onions drizzled in olive oil and ranch seasoning. We stuffed the chickens with onions, rubbed butter all over them and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We placed the chickens on top of the potatoes and roasted them for almost two hours, rotating positions every 30 minutes. The barn smelled delicious and…the chicken was the BEST I’ve ever tasted. It just fell off the bones, was so tender and flavorful. I was so glad that, after all that work, the chicken wasn’t disgusting. We are definitely going to have roast chicken for Thanksgiving and you’re all invited. So far my experiment with eating meat out of my backyard has been successful. I’ll let you know how our first steer steak turns out.

Dustin got home just in time to see the chicken neatly lined up in the freezer, the kitchen scrubbed and disinfected, and all bloody remains carefully buried in the back. He only participated in the eating…I feel a bit like the “little red hen.”

The vegetables were delicious cooked under the chicken. The chicken drippings added so much taste.

The chickens prepped and ready.

Lily, rolling up her sleeves. She was a great helper. This is her stuffing the chickens with onions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Exercise: Yoga

That, over there, is yoga instructor. Don't be fooled by that's a lot easier than it looks.

Let me preface my first “real” yoga experience with a little background info. I am a little bit addicted to exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some crazy hard-bodied, lean, and otherwise intimidating model of perfection who lives at the gym and places exercise second to none. I, on the other hand, am a soft-bodied mom who realized shortly after my first child was born that exercise was the only way for me to have a few minutes to meditate (read: check in with my brain to make sure it was still there). Since that time I have religiously exercised and have LOVED this small time away from my daily slavery as a mom. I’m a total cardio girl and my first love, of course, is swimming. I swim three days a week with a Masters’ (read: old people) swim team. I love how it pushes me, I love that I can socialize with people who don’t know me as Lily/Canyon/Alice/Jane’s mom, and I also love the quiet that being submerged under water forces (it’s very unlike the rest of my day in that regard). On the other days I run. While running is not as therapeutic as swimming (for me), I enjoy how it makes me hurt and the bonus is that I can do it at home if I have to. Anyway…that’s my exercise routine.

Recently (in the last three years) one of my best friends, Lisa, has really gotten into yoga. She has, in fact, loved it so much that she opened her own yoga studio: Cosmic Dog, just so she could do some “GOOD” yoga. She has been trying to sway me over to the dark side for some time. I tried the intro class that was delightful and fulfilling on a purely meditative level. She has since been attempting me to try something a little more advanced. Well, today was the day and being how I know and love the instructor, Mollie, a fellow mom from the charter school, and got full assurance from her that I could handle it and that she would “go easy on me,” I finally decided to take the plunge.

And “plunge” it literally was. I couldn’t of left there more wet if I had just done a masters’ workout in my clothes. Lisa assured me that Mollie always starts out easy and then moves into more difficult. I have to say, I was a bit worried…because there was nothing easy about it. It was fun to push myself in new ways and watch my body shake through these poses that I couldn’t get quite right. Yoga is definitely a strength, stretch, power type of exercise. I was happy, about half-way through the class, to hear some heavy breathing from the other students and to see Lisa and her husband, Tom, as soaking wet as I was. All in all I was satisfied, but aware that I still love my cardio. I think that it’ll be a good complement to my other routines, plus *bonus* they have a daycare for kids. Also, I have to add that I was glad I was there with some serious people because if one unruly person besides myself (…mom, you know who I’m talking about) was there…I would’ve giggled my way through it. My favorite pose/position was the one at the end where you lay on your mat, toes out, arms extended and deep breathe yourself into a nice little nap.

Anyway, I know what Lisa’s doing here, she’s going to get me hooked just when my “best friend” discount runs out. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good business woman.

Thanks Lisa for a good sweaty day. (I hope I can lift my arms tomorrow)