Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What a cheese ball

Ok, I know this sounds so 1950s, but I make a great cheese ball. I used to make all sorts of appetizers for parties. It didn't matter how difficult the recipe was; now I have two kids -- two years old and 5 months. I still like to cook, but sometimes I have to think about the time it takes to make something. If I am going to spend a lot of time on the dinner and dessert, I have to cut back on the time it takes to make appetizers. Here is one of my go to appetizers that always gets lots of oohhs and yummms, but it is super easy.

Goat Cheese Ball with Pistachios

1stick of room temperature unsalted butter
1 10 oz stick of room temperature goat cheese
3/4 cup of pistachios (and a bit more reserved for decoration)
2 cloves of garlic (make a paste using some sea salt)
use fresh chopped scallions or chives to decorate the cheese ball the day you serve it

Whip room temperature butter, room  temperature goat cheese, and garlic/sea salt paste together. Then mix in chopped pistachios. Reserve some chopped nuts for decoration. Now for the cheese ball part -- it is really more of a half dome. Use a bowl that is the size of the half dome you want to create. Place plastic wrap in the bowl with enough extra wrap to over the cheese once it is in the bowl. Spray the plastic wrap with Pam Cooking Spray (this will help you invert the cheese dome and uncover it). Place cheese in the plastic wrapped bowl -- press cheese into bowl to insure the cheese takes on the form of the bowl. Cover the cheese with the remaining plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator to set. This can be done the day before the party.

When getting ready for the party, invert the half dome (bowl) onto your serving platter. Take plastic wrap off. Use the remaining nuts to decorate the cheese ball. Lightly press the nuts into the cheese ball. Also use some chopped scallions or chives to decorate cheese ball and platter. Serve with crackers.

This is the key to the success of this cheese ball -- you MUST take it out 1 hour before you want to serve it. It has to soften or people will not like it as much. Trust me, it is the difference between having very little of the cheese ball leftover and having most of the cheese ball leftover.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What am I going to do when she goes to preschool....to college?

I cried the moment I left my daughter's room last night.  I should start out by saying that when I was pregnant with my first child, I read that your baby should leave his bassinet in his parent's room before three months of age in order to have a smooth transition.  I was a new parent, so I listened.  By ten weeks, I moved Aidan to his crib.  I was a bit sad, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

My daughter is almost five months old, and she still sleeps in the bassinet in our room.  My mom has been asking me for months, "you have moved her into her own room? Haven't you?"  I got sick of  denying it, so I lied -- "yep, I moved her."  I felt badly, but I couldn't take it any longer.  She is probably going to be my last baby.  This time I am not as worried about doing what the BOOK told me to do.  I am doing what feels right to me, my husband, and my daughter.  And the three of us have been doing great the past five months.  So there has been no incentive to change our situation. I am not ready for her to move allllll the way down our short hallway.  I know now that once she moves, she is not coming back.

But recently I started to realize it is getting to that time to move her; she is getting too big for her bassinet .  And last night seemed like the situation was leaning in the direction that it was the right thing to do for my husband and for her. Notice I didn't say it was the right thing to do for me.  My husband expressed his desire to eat dinner later, after our son went to sleep.  My daughter didn't take her typical late afternoon nap, and she was getting hungry because she missed her early evening milk.  It seemed that keeping her up and feeding her after we ate was too late for her.  And making my husband eat early just so I could hold her until she fell asleep was unfair to him.  So I did it. I went upstairs, fed her, and put her down in her crib in her room with her full belly.

When I came downstairs without her, my husband was shocked to hear that I put her in her crib.  He  said," I thought you weren't ready for her to move yet."

 I cried...and cried ... soft quiet tears.  He had the table set for dinner.  He had heated up our leftovers.  He had poured the wine.  I sat in the family room.  And I cried ... and cried.  I was not ready for my little one to grow up and move out of our room and into her own room.  What am I going to do when she goes to preschool....to college?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mummy Hug -- the reason I stay at home

My son and I were eating breakfast and watching a cartoon where a little mummy boy was sad because he lost his "Mummy." Of course at the end of the cartoon, the little mummy found his Mummy.  As soon as they found each other, they hugged.  At that point, my two year wrapped his arms around me and said,"my Mummy."  My heart ... I could actually feel it getting warm inside my chest.  I could feel blood rushing to my heart -- and expanding my heart muscle.  I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but it is true.  Remember the scene in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas where the Grinch's heart grew when he saw the people of Whoville celebrating Christmas even without their decorations -- well, I am not comparing myself to the Grinch, but I did experience my heart growing inside my chest.  I felt his pure love for me.

I glanced at the clock on the wall; it was 7:35 am.  And in that moment the thought that ran across my mind was if I were still teaching school, class would have started five minutes ago.  Wow, am I glad I am staying at home.  This is the reason I stated home.  We have a tighter budget because of that choice, but in that moment my choice was validated and ohhh so worth it.