What’s for dinner Wednesday?

Summertime is just around the corner for us here in California! Something my husband and I love in the summertime? Artichokes – big, green, delicious! Our three year old is just getting into the fun of eating them, pulling the leaves off, dipping in a sauce, dragging the meat off with her teeth and tossing in the bowl. Not the mention how we all love to share our artichoke “hearts” with each other.
Trying an artichoke for the first time? Here is a basic how-to on cooking and eating artichokes:

Prep time: 15 minutes (including dipping sauce)
Cook time: 45 minutes

Prepping the ‘choke:
Some artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves to remove. Take kitchen scissors and cut off the tips on all the leaves.

Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

 

 

 

 

Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. I like to “open” the artichokes a bit. I do this by holding the base of the artichoke with the leaves facing toward the counter and giving it a couple of smacks until the leaves open some.

Cooking the artichoke:
In a large pot, place a steamer at the bottom. Fill water until it reaches the bottom of the steamer.  Place the artichokes all around the pot with the base on the bottom and the leaves facing up. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.

Dipping Sauce

Some artichokes really don’t need any sauce at all. However, I included a link to several at the bottom. This one is my gold standard.
For two large artichokes
3 TBS Mayonnaise (we use sunflower oil mayonnaise)
1 ½  TBS Mustard (any kind of Dijon)
couple splash of lemon juice

Now the fun part!

How do I eat one?

Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

Dip white fleshy end in sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

Continue until all of the petals are removed.

With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy “hair” covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

Want to explore more ways to enjoy artichokes? The delicious vegetable has its very own web page:

http://www.artichokes.org/recipes.html

Let us know what your favorites are!

**Photos courtesy of Elise @ Simply Recipes**

Mama Monday – Getting back to it!

Losing baby weight….Ugh! In some ways I have had an easier time this go ‘round than with the first baby. To start with I only gained 38 pounds. With the first one I gained, 60! I have almost lost it all except for about 5 more to go but geez, everything is so squishy! Since it takes 9 months to go up, I figure I will be kind to myself and allow 9 months to come down…. So where did the last six months go?

With the thought of “bathing suit weather” and a couple of summer trips,  I am newly inspired to transform squishy to svelte or at least acceptable to frolic in the pool with the girls! Prior to their birth, if I wasn’t feeling my “hottest” I could fake it with wraps, sarongs, and cute cover-ups. I could lay perfectly positioned on the chaise lounge sipping a Mai Tai.. However, now I actually have to get into the pool and play with my girls.

Realistically, I only have three months and am still breastfeeding so no diet yet since personally, I don’t think it’s fair to the babes. So here is my plan:

Step 1: Find a partner in crime – an exercise buddy is essential for making me accountable. (Check!)
Step 2: Find low impact exercises to get things started. I have some residual issues from pregnancy/labor that haven’t allowed me to get back into my regular exercise plans.
Step 3: Do them! (I took a 90 minute yoga class yesterday so check!)
Step 4: Am scheduled to take a Zumba class tomorrow, Tuesday night, with said partner in crime!
Step 5: Continue to eat sensible meals and drink LOTS of H20!

Wish me luck!

Mama Monday – Mommy Resolution!

I was driving to work this morning and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wondered who that was looking back at me? Ever have one of these mornings? You are going about your day and all of a sudden you realize that your eye brows need to be desperately waxed and your roots are exposing a look similar to Madonna’s in the 80’s! Ok, I exaggerate, but not much.

I decided that I am making a mommy resolution right then and there! I will get my eyebrows waxed every 2-3 weeks (I have found a great deal at the local nail salon and maybe if I am feeling really lucky I will get a pedicure too)! I will get my hair trimmed and colored every 6-8 weeks as needed and feel fantastic when I leave the salon. I don’t know about you but a good couple of hours at the hair salon and I feel like a new person. But my hair dresser is also pretty fabulous and always is there with the customary, “you look so beautiful!”….”you are absolutely shrinking” (I had a baby six months ago)….”Yes, your hair is falling out but look at all this baby hair growing in” (Well, that one is questionable but at least he is honest .) And he fluffs my hair, washes it with extra time for a head massage and then does a beautiful blowout, just in time for me to get home, get the girls in the bath and fall into bed….but I sure feel gorgeous when I do.

Yes, just writing them makes me want to go to the salon right now for a full treatment…hmmm, I think Mother’s day is coming up soon – maybe I will have to get a day at the spa!

How do you treat yourself? What is your mama resolution?

3.15.11: The Second Time Around

It is so different the second time around when having children! I was much more relaxed in my pregnancy and felt less afraid of “what was going to happen”.  You wonder what it will be like with having two children, everyone tells you it is not double the work but ten times the work…so far it just feels like double the work but she is only six months. We are still in the honeymoon period…she isn’t crawling yet – but she is close!

With my first daughter, you feel so proud and want them to be making all the milestones and early even! I wanted to make sure that she was crawling, walking, talking at all the appropriate times and even encouraged her to hit these marks. The second time around…it’s different! You now know that as soon as they are crawling/walking that the honeymoon will officially be over.

I am definitely proud of the baby but I can’t believe that she is almost crawling already…she has been getting on her hands and knees and scooting backwards for a couple of weeks now! Everyone told me that the second one would do everything sooner than her sister, I just didn’t realize how much sooner! I realized the other night that the reason she must be doing everything faster. One she is in love with her big sister already and is trying to mimic and two, I have had to put her down on the floor much sooner and for longer periods than I did with my eldest.

How you can feel so different about the same milestones with your children? The first one you want them to do everything right away and the second one you want them to slow down. I think this might be some good insight for me to be cautious in my parenting of them.

Do you find yourself parenting your children differently, not just by who they are but by their birth position?