Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Strawberry A Day . . .

Will keep the doctor away? Let's HOPE SO!

(I know, two posts in one day, I'm nuts!)

James is sick. Still. It was teething and now it has morphed into whatever his cousin or his father has. He hasn't been around anyone else, so let's just hope that it is just the little itchy throat thing his Dad has, and not the fever, coughing, aching thing that his cousin(s) have.

Although, by the look of this picture, I am thinking it is the latter. Hey, it's the price you pay for having a blast with your family, right? And if you don't get it from your family you'll just get it from somewhere else. The good thing about getting it from your family is that they are on speed dial for when you frantically need to know the list of medications they are on!

I know it's no newsflash, but James isn't eating. I mean, he really isn't eating. I am sure that now it is because of his being sick. He turns his nose up at bananas, pushes plates of Batter Blaster pancakes away, feeds his Cheerios to the dogs.

Hmmm . . . what to try next? Hey, maybe a strawberry from the basket of them I got at Fresh & Easy? (See following post).

James: What the heck is this, Mom?

Mom: James, don't look at it like it's an alien. You used to eat those when you were a B-A-B-Y, oh so long ago . . ." (violins playing a mournful song in the background).


Mom: "No honey. It is a strawberry. You'll like it. Take a bite." (Meanwhile Mom has got her fingers and toes crossed, PRAYING that James will take a bite.)

It's a miracle. He does.

Did he take another bite? Ahh . . no. Oh well. Mom has to cut the kid a break. He is sick, afterall. And GOD does it HURT MOM TO SEE HIM SO SICK!!!

Fresh & Easy--I Like It!

My friend Mel told me about this new chain of mini-grocery stores that has started to open in our Valley. They are called "Fresh & Easy." These stores are the antithesis of the super-huge-I-need-a-gallon-of-maple-syrup stores like Costco and Sam's Club.

There is one open about four miles from me, so I popped James in the car yesterday and we went to check it out.

I really liked it! These stores have opened in what used to be old Rite-Aids. You can imagine how small they are. They are making an attempt to be the true "neighborhood grocery store" (unlike the Neighborhood Wal-Marts, which still feel just as large as a regular grocery store.)

Mel was so right! These are great stores. They package a lot of their own foods, which in many cases have little or no preservatives. They have an incredible ready-made line of foods, like pasta and meatballs, burritos, fresh salads and awesome gourmet desserts. The meat is so great looking, too! I haven't seen cuts of meat as nice as theirs since the last time I was in a Whole Foods store (and who can afford that??)

And the prices? Well, for a bag of dried apricots at Smith's I usually pay $5.29. I don't know how many ounces the bag has, but it probably holds 30 apricots. A bag at Fresh and Easy that holds twice as many was only $2.28! Wow-ee!!!

I went to their website to learn a little more about them. Here is what it says:

"People want fresh and healthy food choices. People want things to be easy. So we're making our stores that way. How? By recruiting friendly people and offering high-quality food at prices you can't believe.We also think people might like some inspiration, so we're creating easy-to-prepare meals and sharing Fresh & Easy™ Ideas that make busy lives easier. Because we're a good neighbor who cares about the environment, we're including energy efficient equipment in our stores and operations. And since we're a neighborhood market, we recruit from the local area, reduce travel time, and encourage neighborhood shopping.A simple shopping experience with everything you need right in the neighborhood."

I was very excited to see that they are building one even closer to my house, only about a mile away.

I was watching a Food Network show the other day about European markets. It seems that while everyone else in the world adopted a "get your groceries everyday" kind of shopping style, where they went to the butcher, the baker, the grocer, the fish monger, etc., we here in America adopted the "Let's go to Costco twice a month and buy enough food for an army" mentality. (And I am not saying that I don't frequent Costco--I do.)

At Fresh and Easy, I actually feel like the look of the meats, cheese and veggies that they have, and the aromas of the fresh bread and the fruit that they offer, can inspire me to make a meal for that day. (Like I did!) Last night we had homemade Shepherd's Pie. YUM!

If you want to find a Fresh and Easy location near you, visit their website for locations.

Thanks for the tip, Mel!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Take A Spin

When you are feeling crappy because your teeth hurt . . .

And you just don't feel like smiling . . .

Take a spin around the kitchen . . .

On your NEW Go Diego, Go! Big Wheel . . .

And you'll feel so much better . . .

That you will forget about how much your teeth hurt, and you'll smile!

Monday, January 28, 2008

We LOVE the Wonder Pets!

Noggin has a new show--called the Wonder Pets. I saw it today for the first time, when it came on after Dora the Explorer. James loved it, and so do I!

It is about the adventures of three Wonder Pets, a turtle, a chick and a Guinea pig. It is soooo cute, and, here is the best part: each story is sung in an operatic style!! OMG, it is like taking James to the Met for Kids!!

By the way, can I just say that I think I am the biggest klutz in the world? I am very accident prone. Today I tripped on a throw rug in my kitchen, and I am pretty sure that I BROKE MY BIG TOE!!! CRAP!! It hurts. I broke my other big toe when I was a kid and one of my horses stepped on my foot (my BARE foot). N-i-i-i-ce. What the heck can you do for a broken toe? Short of taping it up and putting ice on it? CRAP!! (Did I say that already??)

Anyhow, be sure to catch an episode of Wonder Pets. It will make you smile.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Muffaletta LOVE

Chris and I were watching an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay the other night. Bobby was challenging owners of a New Orleans restaurant to see who could make the best Muffaleta. Muffaleta is an Italian sandwich that New Orleans is famous for. It has a specially-made bread, that contains olive salad, three kinds of Italian meats and two cheeses and lotsa olive oil.

The Serio brothers, owners of the restaurant, won the throw down HANDS DOWN. Their Muffaleta recipe is famous.

I swear Chris' mouth was absolutely watering at all of the Genoa, Provolone, Cappicola and all of the other great meats and cheeses in the sandwich. Of course I had to try it.

I scoured the internets (as our beloved President would say) for some Muffaleta recipes that closely approximated the Serio brothers' recipe. Of course you can't get their exact recipe (it's a secret).

I found a great site called and borrowed their versions.

Here is the bread recipe. Bread

OK, don't even go there if you aren't going to make the bread. It's awesome.

The middle is dense and chewy. The only thing I didn't have was sesame seeds for the top, so in essence, my sandwich bread was not in the 100% TRUE Muffaleta style. Darn it!

ere it is all hot and steaming from the oven and freshly cut. YUM!!!

Next, the olive salad. Let me tell you, if I wasn't so prone to immediate and excruciatingly painful heartburn right now, I would have eaten this entire bowl. It is filled with garlic, pickled cauliflower, red pepper flakes, olives, olives and more olives, two types of hot peppers and loads of olive oil.

Here is the recipe for the olive salad: Nola's Olive Salad.

Next, you slather a huge amount of it on the top layer of the bread. Then take the bottom layer and smash it onto the top layer, so that the bottom layer can soak up some of that olivey-oiley-goodness as well (that's my nod to the Pioneer Woman Cooks style of prose, tee hee).

Now. Start layering the meats and the cheese. Here is the Nola Cuisine recipe for building the actual sandwich: Muffaletta Sandwich

Our first layer is Mortadella with pistachios.

Next comes a layer of Swiss cheese. (Imported Swiss, my husband was so lovely to point out to me when I got back from our LOUSY grocery store with the wrong kind.) Did it dampen his interest in eating the sandwich when it was done? Ahhh . . .Nooooooooo! The Serpio brothers use Swiss and Provolone. Most recipes call for Mozzarella and Provolone. The choice is yours!

Next a nice layering of Genoa.

Then a layer of Provolone.

Next comes my favorite, the Cappicola. Mine was the sweet Cappy. You could also use the hot one. But, that olive salad is PLENTY hot!

Now put the top half with the olive salad and the bottom half with the meats and cheeses together. This is a tricky bit, as the olive salad tends to spill on the counter.

The traditional way to cut it is into four wedges.

This makes for a nice big sandwich.

And a nice happy husband!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Breathe In, Hold It, Breathe Out . . .

Yesterday was probably the worst day ever for me and James. He is teething, and is on a roller coaster of pain, screaming, yelling, temper tantrums, crying and just general frustration. I do everything I can to console him, love him, medicate him, play with him, appease him and discipline him. But--let's just say that yesterday was ROUGH. I feel so bad for him because he knows exactly what he wants to say to me, but he doesn't know the words. As frustrated as I got, he must have been REALLY FRUSTRATED not being able to express himself with his words.

Anyhow, I got some late notice of a gathering of the mommies from playgroup for one of their birthdays. I decided to head on over. Keep in mind that I was not in a good state of mind and I was nauseous (as usual) so I wasn't in a great mood. I kissed James night night, kissed Chris and headed out the door.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I sat down, and all of a sudden, amidst all of these women, I found myself taking a big, deep breath in, and RELAXING. I think I might very well have needed a little change of pace. That made me feel terrible in and of itself, because of course, I love James to pieces. BUT--having some social time with my friends was pretty good, and I needed it.

About 8:30pm I was thinking about heading home. I reached into my bag to get my wallet, and this is what I saw:

It was James' little Hess motorcycle dude. I almost started crying. At that moment, I was filled with a sense of guilt for needing a break, and all I wanted to do was scoop my little boy up and give him kisses and hugs. Why are we moms so hard on ourselves?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ok, so it as been killing me not to post this on my blog. So here you go!


I thought I was about 10 weeks, but my Doctor got me a surprise ultrasound and they think I am just shy of 9 weeks. That means the due date would be August 30th, and my c-section will be about August 20th.

Here is the pic from the ultrasound. I am sure you can't see much, but we got to see the heart beating at 169 beats per minute. IT WAS GREAT!

I have been battling morning (all-day) sickness since New Year's. It has been weird because I was never sick when I was pregnant with James. This one is making me so nauseous. I have added so many things to my "I can't eat that" list--like coffee with cream, butter, milk, sugar, anything fried, eggs of any kind, and soda. That is just crazy!

OK--I know a lot of you out there are hoping for a girl. I would love that. But--can I just say, I LOVE my little boy. The love between a mother and a son is incredible. Who knows what is in store for me though--and maybe I'll get to experience that special connection between a mother and her daughter. (I'll just send her to boarding school from age 10 until 17) oops, who am I kidding? I worked at a boarding school, and that is EVEN WORSE!!!

So, that is our big news. Chris and I are so excited! I wonder how James will feel about it?



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Lantieri Version of Batter Blaster

Well, they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so the Herbst's should be feeling good about this post.

Chris told me that when he was in Costco the other day they were making samples of the Batter Blaster stuff that Gini talked about in an earlier post on her blog. See Tao of Gini: Laziness Wins to read more.

I decided to try them. I just know that my Mom will be HORRIFIED when she reads this, since I didn't make these pancakes from scratch. On the other hand, she might think they are fun. We'll see.

Here they are in the pan. And yes, they squirt out just like whipped cream from a can!

Here they are on the plate, ready for James' hungry tummy to take delight in!

He is so excited about them that he says "Can-cakes!!!"
I think he looks pretty happy with the outcome.
OK, this fork is slowing me down!


Here he is saying "I'm done!" which he says at the end of every meal. I LOVE HIM!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Night Night!

One of my favorite things that James is doing right now is when he is climbing the stairs to go to bed and he turns around on the landing to say "night night" to Chris.

Isn't that just the best?

Monday, January 21, 2008


Mama says that she and Dada got the day off today because it is a holiday.

Mama says that it is a day to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was a great man in our history.

That's cool. But--I think that I might not get to see as much Go Diego, Go today because Dada will want to spend the whole day watching all of his "how to fix stuff" shows like This Old House and Holmes on Holmes.

Oh well. As long as I can have my chair, I'm good with that.

Thanks for the holiday, Dr. King!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We went to a party for our friends Doris and Roy on Friday night. It was for their 20th Anniversary (Congrats, guys!)

James was a real trooper even though when we arrived it was his bedtime. Doris' mom was great with him, and was looking for things to keep him occupied. Here she is handing him a flag.

Don't you just love the look on his face? It says, "Hmmmm. . . I am going to have a lot of fun with this thing!"

Especially when I whap my Dad in the face with it! (Notice, flag in one hand, chip in the other!)

Here is Doris' mom letting James chase her around with a balloon. He would point to it and say "My loon!"

Saturday we had Gini, Bill and the kids over for dinner. Chris set up James' train table and put every piece of track in it's proper place. When James came downstairs, he somehow got himself into the very middle of the action, without knocking ANYTHING down!

Here the boys are doing a great job sharing. I thought James might have a meltdown about it, but he was great!

Check out the cool bridge that the trains go over!

I think James is eyeing the engine that Garrin has. He is probably saying "How can I get that without making him mad?"

Still thinking about how to get whatever Garrin has.

Here is Garrin, minding his own business, and thinking "Don't you even TRY and take this blue Thomas engine away from ME, buddy!"

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Word from Hillary

Even though I had a rough time at the caucus,
I was pleased to receive the following e-mail tonight.

Dear Allison,

We just won the Democratic caucuses in Nevada -- and I owe you so much for making this winning moment possible. I want to take a moment to thank you for all the hard work you have done here. I have learned so much from the people of Nevada over these recent months, and I will carry those lessons with me as we move our campaign forward.

Just like you did today, people across the country are placing their faith in our campaign, especially those hardest hit by the recent downturn in the economy. With the support you showed today, I know we won't let them down. We're working together to bring about change, and America is responding to our efforts.

Thanks so much for sharing this remarkable journey with me!

All the best,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Now, I am sure she didn't compose this e-mail and actually think about me when she typed it, BUT is sure is nice to be thanked.