vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

9 notes

Aren’t you glad I broke my tumbling hiatus to post about high chairs? I sure am.
We were on vacation (FOR REAL I ALMOST CANNOT BELIEVE IT MYSELF THERE WAS SUNSHINE AND WARMTH AND HORRENDOUS BABY JETLAG), visiting my brother and his family in Spain, and they had an Ikea highchair. It was really nice!
We have a hand-me-down Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair that is very lovely albeit a bit banged up, and makes me feel like I am successfully raising my child around attractive, well-made, non-plastic things which will confer a sense of security and calm to his life and which he will certainly remember as an adult. And in theory it will grow with him as he gets older. So I like it a lot.
On the other hand, they cost approximately eight bazillion dollars and all of the add-ons are seven bazillion dollars. And gunk gets stuck in the crevices.
The Ikea highchair worked really nicely, could be easily wiped down, and is A THIRD of the price of the infant seat adapter that the Stokke would require for a smaller baby.
I am all about buying fewer, high quality things, but the Stokke is currently $250 on Diapers.com and the baby set (the infant seat adapter) is $70. For the same price, I could buy two of our dining chairs (which are molded plastic, oops), four Ikea highchairs, plus have $4 left over. The idea of having four children who require highchairs eating at my table at one time is horrifying, but that’s not the point.
I made a diagram. 

For $320 you could have either:
2 molded plastic chairs +4 high chairs that can seat infants +$4 (not pictured)
OR
1 attractive wooden high chair +1 baby seat insert so your small child doesn’t tip themselves off the chair
My point is I think you should buy the Ikea highchair.

Aren’t you glad I broke my tumbling hiatus to post about high chairs? I sure am.

We were on vacation (FOR REAL I ALMOST CANNOT BELIEVE IT MYSELF THERE WAS SUNSHINE AND WARMTH AND HORRENDOUS BABY JETLAG), visiting my brother and his family in Spain, and they had an Ikea highchair. It was really nice!

We have a hand-me-down Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair that is very lovely albeit a bit banged up, and makes me feel like I am successfully raising my child around attractive, well-made, non-plastic things which will confer a sense of security and calm to his life and which he will certainly remember as an adult. And in theory it will grow with him as he gets older. So I like it a lot.

On the other hand, they cost approximately eight bazillion dollars and all of the add-ons are seven bazillion dollars. And gunk gets stuck in the crevices.

The Ikea highchair worked really nicely, could be easily wiped down, and is A THIRD of the price of the infant seat adapter that the Stokke would require for a smaller baby.

I am all about buying fewer, high quality things, but the Stokke is currently $250 on Diapers.com and the baby set (the infant seat adapter) is $70. For the same price, I could buy two of our dining chairs (which are molded plastic, oops), four Ikea highchairs, plus have $4 left over. The idea of having four children who require highchairs eating at my table at one time is horrifying, but that’s not the point.

I made a diagram.

For $320 you could have either:

2 molded plastic chairs +
4 high chairs that can seat infants +
$4 (not pictured)

OR

1 attractive wooden high chair +
1 baby seat insert so your small child doesn’t tip themselves off the chair

My point is I think you should buy the Ikea highchair.

Filed under high chairs parenting Ikea hipster parent bona fides

5 notes

Somehow I became old and started enjoying things that were “not too sweet.”

So I took a sip of my mocha from Tandem Coffee Roasters this morning and said to myself, “ooh, that’s nice, not too sweet.” Other things that are nice and a little sweet but not too sweet: Tandem’s malted iced coffee. I like to believe that it will some day be warm enough for that here.

Somehow I became old and started enjoying things that were “not too sweet.”

So I took a sip of my mocha from Tandem Coffee Roasters this morning and said to myself, “ooh, that’s nice, not too sweet.” Other things that are nice and a little sweet but not too sweet: Tandem’s malted iced coffee. I like to believe that it will some day be warm enough for that here.

8 notes

Me: I want to post about the Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers recipe, but we ate almost all of it before I took a picture last time. And I like a picture.

Me: You could make it again and take a picture this time.

[Make it four more times and do not take a picture]

Me: I know! I will arrange the ingredients artfully on the piece of brown paper that we’ve been coloring on and take a picture.

Me: It will look nice and also not require much work and send the message that you are an organized yet relaxed mom who feeds* her child healthful meals.

Except that we were out of peppers, so it didn’t go quite according to plan, and also I don’t know what we’re going to have for dinner tonight anymore. Let me know if you have ideas!

You might be better able to plan ahead, in which case, here is the recipe for Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers that we’ve been eating constantly for the past few weeks because it is just insanely delicious.

Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers

From Diana Henry’s Pure Simple Cooking

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion (recipe calls for a leek, but I like it better with a regular yellow onion)
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced (or 2)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin**
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped (I just add some hot sauce)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 1/4 cup water or stock (I usually end up using more)
  • 1 14-oz can tomatoes in puree (I always just buy diced tomatoes. Is this the same thing? I don’t know)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • a large handful of cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (which are, of course, wonderful, but we mostly don’t have cilantro kicking around)

Serve with:

  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Rice

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until soft.

Stir in the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute or so.

Add all the other ingredients except for the cilantro and simmer over a gentle heat until the lentils have collapsed. Taste for seasoning and stir in the cilantro.

Serve with plain yogurt and rice.

* And does not have a tumblr full of typos.

** For a spice that I think smells like smelly old man, we run through SO MUCH cumin. Which makes me worried that I smell like smelly old man now.

Filed under diana henry dinner poorly executed blogging

7 notes

If Work Was Like Maternity Leave
June: Hey! Do you want to get lunch? I was going to check out the new place down the street. I’ll drive.
Evelyn: Sounds good!
June: Great!
Evelyn: Except I’m going to need to scream the whole way there at the top of my lungs, while crying.
June: Oh.
Evelyn: And then I’ll need you to hold me when we get there.
June:
Evelyn: I’ll be sweaty.
photo info here

If Work Was Like Maternity Leave

June: Hey! Do you want to get lunch? I was going to check out the new place down the street. I’ll drive.

Evelyn: Sounds good!

June: Great!

Evelyn: Except I’m going to need to scream the whole way there at the top of my lungs, while crying.

June: Oh.

Evelyn: And then I’ll need you to hold me when we get there.

June:

Evelyn: I’ll be sweaty.

photo info here

6 notes

If Work was like Maternity Leave
I discovered this in my phone’s notes section. I wrote it during maternity leave. It’s part of a series I call “If Work Was Like Maternity Leave.”
B: It was so good to get lunch with you!
V: Yeah, you too! Good to catch up!
B: (Cough cough)
V: You okay?
B: Yup! Just a little vomit.
V: Oh no!
B: It’s fine. I got your shirt though. Just a bit here on the shoulder.
B: Oops, actually it’s all down your back.
B: And a touch in your hair.
Photo information here

If Work was like Maternity Leave

I discovered this in my phone’s notes section. I wrote it during maternity leave. It’s part of a series I call “If Work Was Like Maternity Leave.”

B: It was so good to get lunch with you!

V: Yeah, you too! Good to catch up!

B: (Cough cough)

V: You okay?

B: Yup! Just a little vomit.

V: Oh no!

B: It’s fine. I got your shirt though. Just a bit here on the shoulder.

B: Oops, actually it’s all down your back.

B: And a touch in your hair.

Photo information here

Filed under parenting god bless you excel LIFE photo archive

5 notes

Link: A Taste You Hate? Just Wait
Frank Bruni has a New York Times essay on learning to love beets, and learning to appreciate previously-hated foods in adulthood.
As a kid, I hated bananas, tomato sauces, eggplant, grapefruit, brussels sprouts, and more. I would have been delighted to subsist on sandwiches with mayonnaise and cheddar cheese. Some of my food dislikes can be traced to particular situations (a banana-flavored antibiotic that gives me the shivers even today; being forced to eat grapefruit with the bitter pith attached). Some were undoubtedly due to poor preparation (were there good preparations of eggplant happening in the 80s in New England?). Some I can’t really explain— the foods that I had been eating and enjoying for years that suddenly tasted disgusting to me again in the exact same way when I got pregnant, for instance.
In any case, I’d be missing out on so many wonderful foods if I hadn’t given them a second, or third, or fourth chance as an adult.
Illustration by Nigel Buchanan for the New York Times.

Link: A Taste You Hate? Just Wait

Frank Bruni has a New York Times essay on learning to love beets, and learning to appreciate previously-hated foods in adulthood.

As a kid, I hated bananas, tomato sauces, eggplant, grapefruit, brussels sprouts, and more. I would have been delighted to subsist on sandwiches with mayonnaise and cheddar cheese. Some of my food dislikes can be traced to particular situations (a banana-flavored antibiotic that gives me the shivers even today; being forced to eat grapefruit with the bitter pith attached). Some were undoubtedly due to poor preparation (were there good preparations of eggplant happening in the 80s in New England?). Some I can’t really explain— the foods that I had been eating and enjoying for years that suddenly tasted disgusting to me again in the exact same way when I got pregnant, for instance.

In any case, I’d be missing out on so many wonderful foods if I hadn’t given them a second, or third, or fourth chance as an adult.

Illustration by Nigel Buchanan for the New York Times.

3 notes

If Work Was Like Maternity Leave
I discovered this in my phone’s notes section. I wrote it during maternity leave. It’s part of a series I call “If Work Was Like Maternity Leave.”
Oscar: This is a great presentation!
V: Thank you! Do you like the slides?
Oscar: Love them!
V: And did you get the handout?
Oscar: It’s amazing!
V: Cool! Ok! Next slide!
Oscar: I HATE IT TAKE IT AWAY WORST EVER.
Part 1 here
Photo information here

If Work Was Like Maternity Leave

I discovered this in my phone’s notes section. I wrote it during maternity leave. It’s part of a series I call “If Work Was Like Maternity Leave.”

Oscar: This is a great presentation!

V: Thank you! Do you like the slides?

Oscar: Love them!

V: And did you get the handout?

Oscar: It’s amazing!

V: Cool! Ok! Next slide!

Oscar: I HATE IT TAKE IT AWAY WORST EVER.

Part 1 here

Photo information here

8 notes

I discovered this in my phone’s notes section. I wrote it during maternity leave. It’s part of a series I call “If Work Was Like Maternity Leave.”
Joe: Hi Bill.
Bill: Hi Joe, how’s it going?
Joe: Good. I shat myself.
Bill: Just now?
Joe: At some point in the last hour.
Bill: Okay.
Joe: I’m going to need some help cleaning it up.
Bill: Uh, alright.
Joe: I think I got some on my pants, too.
Bill:
Joe: Oh, and it looks like on my shirt.
Bill:
Joe: And my socks.
Photo information here

I discovered this in my phone’s notes section. I wrote it during maternity leave. It’s part of a series I call “If Work Was Like Maternity Leave.”

Joe: Hi Bill.

Bill: Hi Joe, how’s it going?

Joe: Good. I shat myself.

Bill: Just now?

Joe: At some point in the last hour.

Bill: Okay.

Joe: I’m going to need some help cleaning it up.

Bill: Uh, alright.

Joe: I think I got some on my pants, too.

Bill:

Joe: Oh, and it looks like on my shirt.

Bill:

Joe: And my socks.

Photo information here

Filed under if work was like maternity leave

5 notes

The Best Cookbook

I’ve been holding out on you guys for weeks: I’ve made the middle eastern lentils from Diana Henry’s Pure Simple Cooking* at least once a week for the past month and haven’t told you about it.

I will!

But in the meantime, I think you should buy Henry’s cookbook. It’s not one of those door-stopper tomes that purports to have every recipe ever. It’s relatively short, and is organized in a totally insane way with a basically useless index, and has pretty photos. Most importantly, the recipes are really, really great: straightforward, relatively easy, and interesting. I’ve written about her Greek Baked Chicken in Yogurt and Warm Chicken, Roasted Pepper, Chickpea, and Preserved Lemon Salad (the latter of which reminds me of the terrible and still-unexplained swollen arm incident of a few years ago). So many of the recipes are good and unfussy.

Unfussy counts for a lot for me these days. But so does delicious.

* This link goes to my wonderful local bookstore, Longfellow Books. No referral, I just really like the bookstore.

Filed under lentils who knew they were so delicious?

5 notes

We Are Competing Against Ourselves.

In the Actual Olympics:

I fell victim to the emotional manipulation of the Olympics coverage and cried when the American skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace talked about her miscarriage. I also spent a good long time considering what personality would be best suited to throwing yourself down an ice chute head first at 90 miles per hour and decided conclusively that it is not mine.

In the Craft Olympics:

I am not good at colorwork in knitting. I ripped out a few rows of wrinkly triangles and re-knit them yesterday and they are not especially better. And I am knitting the little triangles near the neck right now. As they get bigger I am going to have to carry the yarn over nine stitches.

NINE STITCHES!

The inside of Bear’s sweater is going to be FULL OF LOOPS OF YARN. Bear has a lovely knit blanket that we tuck over him in the car and he spends the entire car ride to daycare sticking his little fingers in the stitches and pulling big runs into the blanket. I am basically just making him a wearable toy which is lovely except that it is going to take eight bazillion hours.

A wrinkly wearable toy.

Just like Noelle Pikus-Pace hoping to make up for a sloppy first run in later runs, I am hoping that judicious blocking can fix a number of these problems.

So.

The upside of taking on this insane project that is like eight steps too ambitious for me is that I have learned the following things so far:

1. How to knit English-style (I am not good at this)

2. How to knit with with two colors, one in each hand (I am not good at this).

3. How to do a cable cast-on that isn’t too tight (I am good at this).

This is how growth happens! I am not going to lose in a competition with myself.

Filed under knitting WTF am I doing craft olympics