Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Toothsome Tuesday

Saturday was a ugly day - cold, rainy, and depressing. We were supposed to attend a community potluck but none of us felt much like being social. What we all needed was some good comfort food and a night in. BUMD and I got the comfort food; the kids were less convinced. I guess Shrimp and Grits is more of an adult taste. The first time I heard of the dish, I couldn't imagine how that combination could possibly work. Boy, was I wrong. It's divine. BUMD declared this to be the best version he's ever tasted. I agree - it's a keeper.

Shrimp & Grits

2 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
3/4 cup half-and-half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup regular grits
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 bacon slices
1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Bring water, chicken broth, half-and-half, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Add Cheddar and parmesan cheeses, butter, hot sauce, and white pepper. Keep warm.

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside.

Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in flour.

Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon.

Serves 4

Recipe courtesy Southern Living magazine.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Music Monday

This song followed me around for months before I finally caught it. I kept hearing snippets in the grocery store and stopped to listen on more than one occasion. The lyrics were intriguing. I finally thought to write down the lyrics so I could figure out who wrote it, then promptly lost the paper I wrote them on. I did it again a few months later and remembered to look it up when I got home. Good thing, too - not only do I love it, but K is also enamored. I never thought I'd hear INXS recording again, but Afterglow makes me glad they did.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Music Monday

Weekend mornings tend to be fairly lazy occasions in our house. BUMD and I have a general routine of sleeping in - he gets one day, I get the other. Whoever is most awake when C wakes up takes the first day, and the one left sleeping takes the next. C is generally up first. He just doesn't need much sleep - he's often the last one up at night too. A is usually next - she goes to sleep early but will also sleep in when given the chance. K is last - she's up late reading, then sleeps in like a tweenager.

We feed the kids something basic when they first come down. Once most of us are awake, it's usually brunch time. We occasionally go out for brunch, but my new-found cinnamon allergy has dampened my enthusiasm for most brunch foods. Even if the food doesn't contain cinnamon, it still affects me if it has come into contact with cinnamon. Don't even get me started on the evil that is Cinnabon - I can't even walk near the place without getting a blast of cinnamon toxins and ending up with a migraine, at best. Waaaaah.

But I digress...we don't really need to go out for brunch. Ours is so much better. This Saturday morning, the menu was ricotta pancakes, bacon, porridge, coffee, and a bloody mary for me. Some may think of the 'porridge' as 'oatmeal', but we had brunch at the wonderful Sarabeth's last weekend. One of their specialties is porridge and I am still obsessing.

The very best part about having brunch at home is that we get to choose our own music. Our iTunes library is huge - at last count, we have nearly 16,000 items. One of our favorite playlists for weekend mornings is called "Diner Mix". It's a collection of the tunes we're used to finding on the jukeboxes in our favorite diners. All this great music and we don't even have to put a quarter in (or call someone who cares if we're still wearing our jammies). One of our favorite tunes off the "Diner Mix" playlist is The Foundations' Build Me Up Buttercup. You can't help but be cheerful when you hear it. This song and some good food will start anyone's day off right.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Music Monday

BUMD and I had a great time in NYC this past weekend. His parents picked the kids up from school, which meant that we were free to leave Friday morning after dropping them off. On the way to DC to drop off the van, we were listening to the CD I burned the other day. Like many others in my car, it's labeled "misc" - in this case, it's a compilation of the various songs I've been listening to on iTunes lately. None of them make any particular sense together, although when listening to it you do get the overwhelming sense that my musical tastes were formed in the 70s. One of the songs we listened to was America's Ventura Highway. BUMD remarked that he wanted to know how the alligator lizards got into the air. That had never occurred to me before. It's a good song, great rhythm - why worry about the lyrics of most 70s tunes? I don't have access to the proper drugs to make those kinds of connections.

Still, by the time we were on the bus heading up 95 we'd already come up with several theories. We ended up revisiting this topic at random intervals throughout the weekend. It's actually a good theory to contemplate while in the Village, but maybe not so good while in the subway looking at the rats. BUMD was sooo excited to see real subway rats - he really needs to get out more. Clearly, we also need to get out more together. Give us a weekend alone to talk with no interruptions and we end up discussing alligator lizards. Deep thinkers - maybe not.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You Gotta Keep 'Em Medicated

BUMD and I are taking off tomorrow for an adults-only trip to NYC to celebrate his final weekend as a 39-year-old. His parents are taking the kids for us. It's a win-win-win. I know they'll have fun together and we definitely need the time alone. It'll be an adventure for all of us - the ILs are taking the kids out to "Grandma & Grandpa's House in the Woods" - aka their place in WV. The kids love it there.

Traveling with kids is easier now that they're older. No more packs of diapers or cribs or numerous outfit changes. The kids are easily portable these days, with one exception - their medication schedule. There are mornings when I feel like a walking, talking Pez machine. K is taking three pills and one nasal spray; C is taking five pills (but soon down to two once he gets through the current bottle), and A is taking two pills, two nasal sprays, one packet of powdered medication, and one inhaler. Why do I get the feeling this is going to appear in the Holiday Letter?

Anyway, the point is that they actually need all these meds. I can generally remember to give it to them, especially now that I'm taking medication. A is really really good about reminding me if I don't. C's behavior reminds us if we don't, unless he's sick. With a bad case of the flu, his energy level finally resembles that of an average 8-year-old boy. Which is to say, energetic. Without the benefit of stimulants or sickness, he's extremely hyperactive. At a lecture last year, our pediatrician noted that out of the many kids he's treated, he's only medicated eight children before they turned five. C is one of those kids. We don't medicate him so he calms down, we medicate him so he can function. His hyperactivity gets in the way of him living like a normal child.

A takes meds for allergies and ADHD. The inhaler and powder are part of a trial we're working on for two weeks, until we see her allergist again next week. She can skip the ADHD med, but only if you're willing to listen to her talkalldaylong. If you're ok with that, have at it. I kinda like my moments of sanity, however fleeting they may be.

K can actually get away without having her ADHD meds, as long as you make sure she has her coffee. That's the thing that cracks me up - people will make comments about how they would never medicate their kids, but when you look over, their kids are guzzling Coke or Mountain Dew. Stimulants, people! Millions of adults self-medicate daily with their caffeine-laden soft drinks, coffee, or tea. But nooo, they don't take medication. Nope, don't need it. Of course not (::pats their heads::) - you're already taking liquid stimulants. Why bother with the pill form?

We started K on coffee before we decided to medicate her. Her third grade teacher had said that K was brilliant but clearly not working up to her potential. Without telling the teacher, we started giving K a cup of coffee every morning and voila - she started doing great in class. A few months later, we accidentally switched to decaf for a few days (they should be required to put the word "decaf" in large, bold lettering on the package). By the time BUMD and I figured out why we had headaches, we got a report back from K's teacher stating that K was distracted, not focusing, what was wrong?? Of course - no stimulants, less focus.

By that time, we'd also taken the girls to see a neuropsychologist who diagnosed them with attention disorders, among other things. A's genetic syndrome was the main reason we had her seen. K's visit was probably over-the-top, but since we'd also had C evaluated by the neuropsych, we figured why not? Now we're three-for-three. The neuropsych was also alert enough to note some issues BUMD was having and sent him to a neurologist, who eventually diagnosed BUMD with severe sleep apnea. Now that's a value-added service.

So now I'll end this post and pack the medication and instructions. It's a lot to keep track of, but it's still better than changing diapers. Besides, MIL loves Pez machines. She can be one for the weekend. ;-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Music Monday

I'm squeaking in under the wire with this one. ;-) I've been managing to exercise regularly for the past few weeks. One of the songs that gets me through my cardio workout is Daft Punk's Around the World. If I'm nearing the end of my workout and am ready to quit, this song always keeps me going. More than once, I've gone past my time because I couldn't bear to quit moving. It's that kind of song. It's also great for doing lunges and squats - the rhythm is perfect.