Baby List: 8 to 12 months

Boxes for toys

In the last four months A went from baby to full-blown, running, talking toddler. In that time her preferences changed a lot.

When she was about 6 months old, she decided she didn’t love pacifiers, but now we have to put about five in her crib every night.

Right after A started walking, we moved to a new house with stairs. We tried several baby gates without luck, so instead we have focused on monitoring her and teaching her how to properly and safely go up and down stairs.

More Baby Proofing:

Feeding:

Teething necessities:

Toys:

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Baby List: 5 to 8 months

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A lot has changed in just a few months. Baby A is now super mobile and thisclose to walking. With all those changes, our list of musts has changed too. The basics are still super important and we still use most of those every day. But in addition to the previous list, we have baby-proofed the house (and are working on house proofing the baby!), updated her wardrobe and learned a lot.

More Baby Proofing:

Feeding:

Teething necessities:

Toys:

  • Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks and Rock Stack Bundle She loves these! The next toys we buy will be a set of wooden blocks!
  • Random ball she pulled into the cart at Babies R Us
  • Books we could swim in books. A has a bookshelf in her room that is nearly brimming with books. Board books for now and some chapter books for later. She is getting more and more interested in reading as she gets older.

Misc:

  • We love the rash guard from Hanna Anderson for A’s swimming lessons. It’s great for the swim diapers and great for keeping ahold of a wiggly baby!
  • Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System, White This has replaced our on the go version except at school. We just needed something that wasn’t going to eat batteries every couple of days. This one plugs in. She is really ambivalent about the projector though.

Things A has outgrown or is quickly growing out of:
Swaddles – as soon as she could roll over we stopped using these. We tried the wearable blankets, but A wasn’t in to them. She now sleeps with a lovie and a very light blanket in her crib. Yes, she can roll over. yes, she can pull it away from her face. Yes, we check on her regularly throughout the night. Yes, she is still getting up a couple of times a night to nurse.

Nursing pillows – A just doesn’t like them anymore. Which means less work for me, so I’m all for it.

Play mat– pretty much as soon as A could roll over and crawl away, she became super uninterested in her playmat.

Jumper/Exersaucer –  She tolerates this still for short periods of time, but actually prefers her pack and play because she can pull up to standing and can move around.

Pacifiers – she can take them or leave them except at nap time and bed time. Sometimes she just doesn’t want them at all.

 

Mom’s banana bread

My mom didn’t make banana bread very often because she doesn’t really like bananas, but my dad, sister and I did, so when she made it, it was a great day. I was pretty surprised at how easy this is to make. It’s perfect for a cold late winter day.

Print Recipe
Mom's banana bread
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter or Crisco. No need to flour the greased pan. Mix the wet ingredients into a bowl, adding the milk last.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. If your brown sugar is a little lumpy, that's ok! It will add pockets of caramel notes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together.
  4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 55 to 60 minutes until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean and the sides start to pull away from the greased pan.

My opinion: This makes your whole house smell amazing. It’s delicious and one of my most favorite breakfast foods. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter (if you add peanut butter reduce the oil by one tablespoon). The options are endless!

Indian at home: Chicken Vindaloo

Indian at home.
Indian at home.

Sadly, our town is lacking in good Indian cuisine. Which means, this fall J and I have decided to figure out how to make it at home. We’ll tackle naan soon, especially since we discovered how easy the main dishes can be. We tried Chicken Vindaloo from our new favorite site rasamalaysia.com. The directions were easy to follow, easier than finding all the ingredients! With a few modifications, we had a meal that rivaled any local Indian restaurant.

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces and skin removed (We used about 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts because that’s what we had on hand)
1 onion, chopped (we used a large yellow onion)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 tsp each Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons oil (we used olive)

Spice Blend:
1/2 cup vinegar (white)
4-5 dried red Chile peppers (we used dried, whole red chilis)
4 cloves (we used ground)
8 garlic cloves, skin removed (we used minced about 2 tablespoons)
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:
Add vinegar and soak all the ingredients needed for the spice blend for 15-20 minutes. Then blend these into a fine paste using a blender. (we used the food processor and with the added vinegar, this turned very runny. Next time, we’ll remove the spices from the vinegar and then re-add it at the end). Add the spice mixture paste to the chicken and toss well to evenly coat all the chicken pieces. Let the chicken marinate for 4 to 6 hours. In a large wok heat the oil on medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stirring often. Add the chopped onions, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the chicken. Give everything a good stir. Finally add 1/2 cup of water (we omitted this step since it was already pretty runny), cover the lid of the skillet and lower the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes or till well done and the oil start to ooze from the curry. If you prefer little thinner gravy add water as need and let it simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes before serving. Like the original author, we prefer the gravy to be thick and sticking to the meat pieces. Serve immediately over basmati rice.

My Opinion:
The sauce was a little runny for our tastes and it wasn’t quite as spicy as we like our vindaloo. Next time, we’ll use the spice blend as a run without the vinegar and add it at the end.

Homemade Paseo Caribbean roast

You may have noticed that whenever we take a vacation, we come back with a recipe. Our recent jaunt to Key West was no different. While we could have come back with a recipe for traditional Key Lime Pie (we did) and the best lime slush (also have that), we really wanted to recreate our favorite lunch at Paseao (which apparently is also in Seattle, who knew?).

Here’s a picture of the original sandwich.

Paseao Caribbean roast

We found a pretty easy to follow recipe and with a few tweaks got our version really close. Finding the mango juice was the hardest part. We ended up finding Mango Puree in the natural food section of our favorite grocer.

Pork Ingredients:
1 cup Mango juice
2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice (Key West is best, but if you can’t find it regular lime juice is just as good)
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped garlic
1 teaspoon fresh, chopped oregano
sprinkle (about 1/2 teaspoon each) kosher salt and black pepper
1 shot of rum (splurge a little and get a good dark, non-spiced rum)
3 pounds pork shoulder
tablespoon or two vegetable oil

Onion ingredients:
2 yellow onions

Garlic Aioli ingredients:
1 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice

Additional ingredients:
good, crusty baguette (bigger than a french loaf)
Fresh Romaine lettuce
fresh cilantro
pickled jalapeños

Directions:
Combine the pork ingredients in a large Tupperware container. Add pork. Seal. Shake. Leave it in the refrigerator for at least 4  hours, the longer the better. We left it in overnight.
Caribbean Roast Marinade

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from marinade, but don’t discard! Sear the pork in a lightly oiled pan or skillet (save that pan for later!) on all sides. It will lose all the marinade at first and get really bubbly. Don’t worry. Just let it get crispy on all sides. The juices will evaporate.
Caribbean Roast sear

Place the pork in a roasting pan and pour the marinade on.
Caribbean Roast
Tent the roasting pan with foil to seal in the steam. Place the roasting pan into the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Then uncover and cook for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes, basting as needed and flipping the meat over half way through. We ended up cooking it for a little over two hours. The longer the better. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

When you put the pork in the oven, you can prepare garlic mayo by peeling 8 cloves of garlic (we left them whole, even though the original recipe called to chop the garlic). Put the garlic in an oven proof custard dish and pour about 2 tablespoons of lime juice on top of the garlic. Add to the oven with the pork and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or  until the garlic is soft and roasted. Add this to 1 cup of mayonnaise. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice and stir. The original recipe called for relish, but we left that out.

Caribbean Roast Garlic Aioli

While the meat is roasting, cut up the onions yellow onions into wedges. We went with strips in the food processor and it wasn’t quite right. Place in the same pan that you seared the pork shoulder in and set to medium high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until onions are caramelized and have picked up all of the fond.

Cut bread in half. Slather garlic mayo on both sides and place in toaster oven till the mayo puffs up a bit and the bread slightly browns.

Last step, assemble the sandwich by adding a little more mayo on the bread, topped with romaine leaves, onions, pork, a few pickled jalapeños and some cilantro.

Caribbean Roast Sandwich

My opinion:
Three pounds of pork made five sandwiches the first night. We opted to freeze the rest, which will make at least four more sandwiches. Plan for a feast. It’s just as tasty cold the next day. I only wish I’d had a few more pickled jalapeños to add a bit more heat.