Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Morroccan Lamb

Have I ever mentioned that lamb is delicious?  Worth the extra few dollars when you really want the taste of lamb.  This dish was quite tasty and made a ton.  If I did it again for my small family, I would probably cut it in half and save the extra lamb for something else (2 lamb recipes for the price of 1!)

1 lb ground lamb
2 C sliced onion
1/2 C carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 C chicken broth
1/2 C rasins
3 Tbsp tomato paste (freeze the rest of the can if you don't have immediate use)
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon rind
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, sliced

Cook lamb over medium heat.  Remove from pan.  If needed, drain excess drippings.  Add onion and carrot to pan, saute 4 minutes.  Add cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and pepper.  Heat spices for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add chicken broth, raisins, tomato paste, lemon rind, chickpeas, and cooked lamb.  Sat to taste.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and lemon juice.

We served with a lemon slice (it needed just a hint more lemon) and leftover rice form earlier in the week, though it would be even better to serve with couscous. 

Some more pictures from the Children's museum.  They have this fun area with dozens of tricycles, walkers, cars to scoot around in, etc.  We tried to put Isaac in some of the cars or on the tricycle.  But that was too confined and he would start crying.  He just wanted to wander around, pushing whichever thing on wheels was closest at the time.  Occasionally to the distress of children seated in the car he was trying to push.

And now, the little boy.  His last 1 year old molar finally came in.  Hallelujah!  He didn't just get cranky with those teeth, he became a storm.  And who can blame him?  The top two molars burst blood vessels causing the gums  around the molars to become black and purple and swollen for about 3 weeks.  When we saw the doctor (for one of his many ear infections) she said the teeth, or I should say gums, just looked horrible.  She said that as the tooth came in it would constantly be pressing on that burst blood vessel.  So imagine someone putting a lot of pressure on a really bad bruise.  All day long.  For 3 weeks.  Then, the bottom molars started to come though.  One side wasn't bad, but the other side got a blood blister on top of the gums for 3 or 4 days before the tooth finally came in - through the blood blister.  Needless to say, I'm hoping little boy gets a nice long break before his canines start working there way in.  Poor little boy.

It has been nice here in Houston.  To those of you enjoying 10 inches of snow - don't get too jealous.  Come summer you'll have beautiful weather and we'll be living with 90% humidity and 100 degree temperatures.  So of course we've been enjoying going to the parks.  Isaac just loves the parks.  He likes to run, and explore, and eat mulch and sand, and mostly run some more.  Countless parents have said to me, usually as I start running after Isaac to get him away from the parking lot, that that little boy is FAST!  After fetching him from the road (where Isaac is pointing and saying "car car") I set him down in the furthest corner and have maybe a few minutes before I have to fetch him again.  I have two friends with little boys 2 months younger than Isaac.  There sons sit in their laps or on a blanket and contentedly play with toys or enjoy snacks while the mothers sit and chat.  I can't even imagine Isaac contentedly sitting on a blanket.  But he sure is cute, even with a mouth full of mulch.  And I suppose he gives me good exercise.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Every time I think we've stuffed everything that can be stuffed, we come up with another veggie or fruit to stuff, bake, and eat for dinner.  I've never had acorn squash before but am always happy to branch out to another veggie.  Isaac ate a little but he doesn't like rice (unfortunate as we eat rice a few times a week) and acorn squash clearly was not his favorite squash.

3 small acorn squashes
8 oz Italian sausage - we used chicken apple sausage links instead and it was yummy
1 onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C cooked rice
1/3 C craisins
3 Tbsp fresh chives (didn't have any so we left this out)
salt and pepper
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 C Swiss cheese, shredded

Bake squash at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, turning over after 20 minutes.  Make sure they are just tender before removing from oven (we didn't bake it long enough and had to put them back in).  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Halve squashes and scoop out the seeds.

Saute Italian sausage until browned.  Remove sausage from pan and drain drippings if you have a ridiculous amount (Chicken sausage barely gives off any drippings).  Place onions in pan, saute for 4 minutes.  Add celery and cook another 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one more minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in sausage, rice, craisins, chives, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese.  Divide rice evenly among the squash halves.  Sprinkle with Swiss cheese.  Place on baking sheet and broil 4 minutes until cheese is melted.

Delicious!  But how can you go wrong with rice and sausage?

And now for little boy:

Playing with Tina!

Grandma just came out to visit little boy and he was happy for about the first 3 1/2 days - possibly a record for him.  He just got over another ear infection and another bout of bronchitis and just finished with his top two molars (all of that in the course of 10 days) so this was a pleasant change.  By Sunday night though, he started fussing again and pulling his ear and by Monday we were back to the Isaac we normally see around here.  It was good for Grandma to see crazy boy - the one who screams so thoroughly - so she doesn't think I exaggerate too much when I say I've had it and am ready to sell him to the Russians.  Russia's far away, though, so usually I just sell him to daddy.  We are expecting his bottom two molars any day now.  Mothers who don't have fussy teethers are truly blessed.  On that point, mothers who don't encounter ear infections are blessed.

While some days I threaten to sell him, I do have to say, he sure is a cute little monkey.  He just started giving hugs and they are the most wonderful thing in the world.  Sometimes he may be squishing your face, sometimes they may be a little wet, but one hug from him and everything is forgiven. He also likes to hug Tina, something I'm not sure she appreciates, though she kindly puts up with it.  And on another note, he truly is a monkey.  Yesterday we went to chick-fil-a with some friends.  The play place has a toddler's section with mirrors and switches and things to spin but he disregarded that and promptly climbed to the top of the tower.  From up their he had an excellent vantage of the play car that sits at the top of the play place to which he happily pointed at and screamed at for the next 30 minutes.  It was the most relaxing afternoon I've had in a long time.  After my initial fear of him breaking his neck up on the tower, I then just sat at our table and enjoyed watching him stand on the platform pointing at the car and smiling down at me.  I did eventually have to climb up and get him and carry him down so we could leave. He loudly informed the whole store of his displeasure.

At the Houston Children's museum they have an awesome toddler exhibit with slides and mirrors and things to climb on (safely) and blocks and things to spin and doors to open ad this awesome car to sit in.  Isaac loved it.  He came back to it time and time again.

He also loved the ball pit, especially throwing the balls out.