Today's Recipe: Warm Weather Lasagne
Lily Ruth's personality seems to be growing faster than her legs, and folks, that is FAST. Each day presents a new opportunity for her to assert herself - and she grabs ahold of said opportunity and shoves it into her mouth.
I'm sure that every parent feels like their child is special and gifted. Some of them are even right :-P This being my first go at parenting, it's hard to discern normal from extraordinary because every new thing is covered with awesome like a layer of glitter... and I LOVE glitter.
Being me, I long for labels to stick on things so that everything has a clearly delineated place to be. Also, I would prefer it if everything fit into my own definition of 'acceptable'. Not to say that I am narrow minded. Quite to the contrary - if you could see my floors (and consequently, Lily Ruth's leg warmers), you would know that my version of acceptable is wide open and a bit sloppy. I just like to know what's what. Parenting is the exact opposite of that. So far, I've figured out that a lot of the time the best you can do is love fiercely, keep them from true harm and lead by example.
Especially scary to try when your child's emerging personality seems to be fearlessly inquisitive, terrifyingly intelligent and defiantly independent. Case in point, the head bonk. Lily Ruth's new favorite thing to do is to bonk her forehead on something (wall, furniture, Mama). She starts off gently, and increases force until it hurts/her forehead is red - laughing all the while. I have 'allowed' this without even trying to deter her, but today changed that. Today, we were in the pasta aisle of the grocery store when my darling daughter decided that she was done. She kicked her heels and vocalized. I said 'just a minute, baby. We're almost done'. She replied by banging her FACE against the cart handle several times in quick succession until she hit her mouth hard enough to warrant (in her mind) a top-of-her-lungs, full out, red faced scream. I was stunned, Then I was irritated and embarrassed. Nobody wants to be the mom with a screaming kid in the grocery store*. I scooped her into my arms (her original request), and hurried awkwardly through the rest of the store. Steering the cart with one hand and a foot.
What should I have done? Could this have been averted? Oh LORDY!
Well, the whole day was not modeled on that experience (whew). We had a great visit to Nanny's office, good lunch, an o.k. nap, a new toy, and delicious dinner at the Homestead.
Lunch was sort-of a surprise. Remember how I was worried about freezing cheese sauce? Well, like most worries, it would have been better left uncontemplated as the outcome was non-essential to anything. If it hadn't frozen well, who would have cared? As it turns out, it was fine. I followed the precedents set by my baby food pureeing, and slapped it into some ice cube trays, shoved it in the freezer and forgot about it. I saw it today as I foraged for lunch food, turned it out into a freezer bag, snagged three cubes, and went to town :-) I boiled up some teeny-tiny pasta shells, warmed up the cubes of frozen cheese sauce with some turkey sausage and frozen broccoli, combined it all, and served it up.
Lily Ruth was in HOG HEAVEN...
as was I. There was even enough left over to put into tiny containers for Lily to enjoy at Parent's Day Out tomorrow!
I had never given it any real thought before having a baby of my own, but I wouldn't have thought that feeding a baby was as easy as cooking good, healthy food then feeding it to them, but for us it is. I had visions of either jars of pureed weirdness or special recipes, equipment everywhere and separate meals until she was 'old enough' for other stuff. As it turns out, that's just not the case. My daughter nurses as often as she wants and is offered everything that I eat. Some of it she accepts gladly. Some of it she takes, mashes around then rubs into her skin. Some of it she throws directly onto the floor. Whatever the case, she's learning about food, and will eat more of it as time goes on. I feel very blessed that I have a 'good eater'... now, if only she was a 'good sleeper' too! What I wouldn't give for a full night of sleep!!!
Speaking of good eaters and good food, I made lasagna for dinner tonight, and it was sooooooooo gooooooood. I try to 'lighten up' lasagna in the warmer months by using more veggies and less cheese, and this is a good example of that:
Rachel's Warm Weather Lasagna
2 links hot Italian sausage - (I removed it from the casing)
1 small eggplant - diced
2 fresh tomatoes - diced
1 medium yellow onion - diced
1 pkg sliced mushrooms (I prefer crimini/baby bella)
4 large garlic cloves - finely minced
1 bag fresh spinach (frozen would work just fine - defrost it first)
1 jar GOOD tomato sauce - there's no shame in bottled sauce, but there IS shame in crappy bottled sauce
1 pkg lasagna noodles - uncooked
fresh mozzarella cheese
grated parmesean cheese
cook the sausage in a skillet. add the eggplant and tomatoes. simmer until the veggies are almost done then set aside (with all juices). using the same skillet, sautee the onion, mushrooms and garlic until the onions are almost translucent and the mushrooms have begun to shrink. turn the heat off, add the spinach to the pan, and cover until the spinach is wilted. lightly cover the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish with tomato sauce, then lay in a layer of uncooked noodles. add the onion, mushroom & garlic mixture. top with a layer of sliced mozzarella. add another noodle layer. lay in the sausage, eggplant and tomato mixture with all it's juices. coat that layer liberally with sauce (retain approx 1/2 of your sauce). add another noodle layer. top with the remaining sauce - make sure that all visible noodle has sauce on it, or you'll have crispy noodles. cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes. remove from the oven, cover the top with parmesean, bump the oven temp up to 400°F, and bake (covered) for an additional 10 minutes. yum.
So, a shaky start, but in balance, a good day :-)
Go to bed, ya'll
* I almost forgot to explain my asterisk! I was once in the store (YEARS ago), and heard a kid screaming angrily from the other end of the building. The screaming continued off and on, getting gradually closer, until I reached the middle of the store. I rounded a corner, AND IT WAS SOMEONE THAT I KNEW!!! She was miserable and mortified, and the kid was FINE - just pissed off, and she had shopping to do. Ahhhh, Mommyville.