Monday, December 25, 2006

ho ho ho

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
Burton Hillis

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, & Happy Ho Ho!
from little Lulu, big Daddy & thepetitegourmand..

Saturday, December 23, 2006

waiting in anticipation

I really didn't think Lulu would "get" the whole Santa thing this year.
But the man in red is pretty much everywhere these days, so it's pretty difficult for him not to be the main subject of conversation around here.
All Lulu's favourite shows have the whole Santa theme happening.
Max & Ruby, Blues Clues, and even her beloved Toopy & Binoo were dressed up like mini Santas.
Every store we enter seems to have an image or figurine of Santa, and in a few instances the man himself was there in the flesh.
Big daddy and I were trying to decide how to go about celebrating Santa & Christmas in general.
Chanukah is pretty straight forward, we lit the menorah each night and ate latkas.
(which I bought from Nortown as I couldn't bear the thought of stinking up the house with fried oil)
we played with the drediel and ate Brisket, barley pilaff and roasted vegetables with friends and family.
Simple & fun with no made up stories involved.
Thus the moral dilemma.
Do we tell Lulu that some fat guy in a red suit is going to squeeze down the chimney in the middle of the night?
(even though we tell her to stay away from the fireplace because it's dangerous and HOT)
and he's basically doing a B&E, but instead of stealing the dvd, car keys and laptop, he's actually going to leave presents for her, without once setting off the alarm..
Maybe I'm giving it too much consideration.
I mean as a kid I loved the whole concept of reindeer on our rooftop with Santa eating the milk & cookies we put out for him.
Every year I was determined to stay awake long enough to hear the hooves above and try to sneak a peek at Jolly Ol' St. Nick.

warning spoiler ahead.

My parents pulled out all the stops trying to keep the "story" alive for as long as possible.
My dad even dressed up one year and got up on the roof (I'm sure after a few rye & ginger's- he was only in his early twenties after-all)
They even left fake snow foot prints on the red carpet in the living room (hey it was the seventies)
The note I had left for Santa was wrinkled and even covered in soot, cookie crumbs left on the plate.
But ultimately I uncovered the truth.
Not sure when, but I do remember pretending to still believe for my younger brother's sake (and to perpetuate the awesome loot left by Santa every Christmas morning)

So I guess we will just have to play it by ear.
Though it is highly unlikely that Big daddy will ever dress up in a Santa suit and get up on the roof...
But something tells me he won't mind partaking in the eating of the cookie ritual.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top Chef

Another reality show comes to an end.
This particular show didn't involve skimpy bathing suits, being stranded on an island or feeling hungry for 39 days.
On the contrary, it was the complete opposite.
I'm talking about "Top Chef" on the Food Network.
From the first episode I was hooked.
It had all my favourite elements in a show.
Juicy cat fights.
Lot's of diverse personalities.
Fun challenges & suspense.
But most of all it was all about food and cooking.
The guy I figured would win, did.
yay Harold.
He was totally pro, diplomatic, talented and cute to boot.
I'm kind of sad it's over.
Isn't that the way?
All season you can't wait until the next episode, then when the final show arrives
it's always a bit anti-climatic.
(kinda like Christmas if you ask me)
anyhow, big congrats to Harold.
I will definitely be looking up his restaurant the next time I'm in NYC.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

baking 101

I don't have much patience for baking.
I love to cook, no question about that.
But baking has to be so precise and there is usually no room for error.
When I do bake I tend to make things like banana bread or oatmeal cookies.
Simple stuff.
Besides, I'm definitely more of a savoury and spice lover rather than a sweet tooth.
Though I never say no to a bit of dark organic chocolate..
Now that I'm a "mom" I felt this obligation of sorts to throw on an apron and dust off my measuring cups and get baking.
I also figured Lulu would enjoy playing with flour and dough and making cut out cookies.
I picked up this little cookie cutter at polka dot kids a few weeks ago, and knew Lulu would love making these little gingerbread birdies.
Her first word ever spoken was "birdie" after-all.
so in keeping with the theme around here..
I think they turned out pretty good.
we had fun together.
they taste ahight..
Though I may have to stop by the local bakery for a good'ol oatmeal cookie or a slice of banana bread..

Thursday, December 14, 2006

blue skies

I have a confession to make.
I'm secretly waiting in anticipation for it to snow.
Yup that's right, nice big fluffy snowflakes.
Covering everything in a nice cool white blanket of prettiness.
I know this might sound crazy,
but it just doesn't feel Christmasy when the weather feels more like March or April temperatures.
Sure it's great that I can still get away with wearing my ballet flats with my skinny jeans and a blazer in the middle of December.
And it is nice not to have to put layers of clothing on before heading out the door.
And then have to de-layer as you go inside to overly heated places (ie.the mall..)
then have to lug a bunch of extra clothing around with you.
Like I don't already have enough stuff to tote with a toddler in my life.
You can never have enough containers of animal crackers, fruit or cookies you know
(just in case Lulu finally decides to end her hunger strike)
And it's nice not to have to scrape the snow from the car windows or wait 10 minutes for the car to warm up.
Or salt the sidewalks and shovel the driveway.
Or mop up the melted salty snow puddles at the front door.
Or try to manoeuvre the stroller down the sidewalk hoping that everyone had the common courtesy to shovel.
Or trying to still look fashionable while wearing sensible snow/waterproof/warm foot wear..Is this even possible?
or trying to put things (i.e.. stroller) in and out of the trunk of the car without getting long black puffy coat covered in salt and slush.
did I actually say I wanted it to snow?
I think I need to lay off the rum and eggnog for a while.

That is of course if I actually liked eggnog.
which I don't.
Though I have nothing against rum.
I had to state that for the record.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

say cheese

Lulu has become quite particular about food lately.
dare I say she has unleashed her inner-diva?
when it comes to food, it's starting to get more and more difficult to get her to eat.
My pediatrician sais we should be moving away from jarred baby food by now,
yet it's really the only thing I can get her to eat these days.
Even that has become a bit of a battle.
She won't eat chicken, fish or beef.
It's either ham or nothing.
Is this normal??
I just hope my mother in law never finds out about this love of ham.
Or as big daddy likes to refer to it "pink chicken"
not exactly kosher.
It's difficult not to get too worked up about her fluctuating appetite.
I just want to make sure she is getting enough fruit, veg and protein in her diet.
Some days she will literally only have cereal, a jar of peas and a tiny bit of ham.
She will eat avocado, hummus and a bit of pita on occasion.
blueberries, strawberries, mandarin orange and banana are tolerated.
Whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce (& hidden blended spinach) and parmesan cheese are usually accepted with a bit of coaxing.
I've had to toss out many a batch of nice home-made meals that I have so lovingly prepared for her.
But if all else fails, I can always crack out the fromage.
She never sais no to a bit of cheese.
like mother like daughter.
This past weekend she's decided she likes truffle cheese
(with carrs crackers and a "dip" of red wine) of course.
we had to keep her away from the Romans Part Dieu and the Bleu de Gex.
not sure if unpasturized cheese is okay or not for 19 month olds.
but let's not even get into the whole pasteurized or unpasteurized debate..
things are pretty tense here in Toronto on that particular subject these days.
I'm just glad Lulu isn't lactose intolerant.
Now THAT would be great cause for concern.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

deck the halls

Lulu is quite the little santa's helper.
she was really getting into the spirit of things this weekend and helped to decorate her first Christmas tree.
Needless to say there is an abundance of ornaments on the bottom half of the tree.
But I didn't have the heart to relocate the ones that she so carefully applied to each branch.
So our tree is a little bottom heavy (kinda like mommy)
Though I have to say that each ornament was nicely spaced apart from one another.
She was very methodical in her ornament application.
that's my girl.
I'm one proud mama.
(hey it's the prop stylist in me)
Big daddy wasn't entirely enthusiastic about the entire situation.
I think the Jewish guilt factor was creeping in.
But kudos to him for helping put it up in the first place and for putting on all the lights.
I hate having to deal with the lighting.
Anyhow, It always seems like such a "dad like" thing to do.
He drew the line at full on decorating and left that up to us girls.
but I do appreciate the fact that he is okay with having a Xmas tree in the first place and humouring me this year.
Like he really has a choice in the matter.
so we decked the halls.
fah laa laa laa laa laa la..
tis' the season to be...okay I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Friday, December 08, 2006

little elf

Lulu has been living it up at grandma & grandpa's house all week.
Three days and nights without our little lulu.
It certainly does make it easier to work and take on extra freelance jobs.
It also was a bit of a festive week with a bunch of Christmas get togethers and parties, so it beats hiring a baby-sitter.
I also managed to go to the doctor (finally after almost three years...) and get a haircut.
feels good to cross so many things off the To Do list.
But it felt so empty around here.
I thought we would catch up on a bit of extra sleep, but no not really.
Lulu fills our lives with so much joy and happiness, that although it was a nice break, it just didn't feel right without her around.
I don't miss the "old days" when it was just big daddy and I in the least.
I thought I would, but I don't.
It was nice however not having to use those annoying plastic cupboard safety things every-time we open and closed the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.
and I don't think we used the dishwasher once all week.
no sippy cups, bottles, winnie the pooh plastic plates.
No avocado bits all over the floor or little pieces of crocodile cheese crackers stuck to my socks.
We actually ended up eating out most of the week so I barely stepped foot in the kitchen.
that in itself felt really odd.
But Lulu had so much fun and really enjoyed spending time with "baba and bampba"
My mom is also going through some very stressful times, so it was a really great diversion for her.
I absolutely love watching the relationship between Lulu and my mom grow and develop.
Though I almost melted when I picked her up, she kept clapping her hands saying "mama mama MAMA!!!"
I can't remember getting so many kisses and hugs.
That felt really amazing.
All in all it was a really good week for everyone, I'm just glad to have my little elf home again.
Just in time too, because we are decorating the tree tonight.
Our first Christmas tree-ever.
should be fun.

Monday, December 04, 2006

sibilantly sumptuous secondi

Lulu is currently absorbed in her ABC's.
besides the usual sing song and various abc themed books I picked up these rubber letters from the $1 store.
She loves them and we have fun spreading them out all over the floor, pointing to the different letters.
who knew such a simple and inexpensive thing could be such a winner?
If she had been with us for dinner this evening she would have heard plenty of overly enunciated "S-es"
Big daddy and I went to dinner and a movie.
then dinner at Tutti Matti.
what the hell does that have to do with the alphabet?
well we were sitting next to a well known society "writer" about town.
He and his dinner date were chatting up a storm.
To put it mildly it was raining S-es.
If you know what I mean..
I couldn't help overhearing a bunch of ssssstuff about sssso many fabulousssss placessss and fabuloussss people.
Sssso much ssssso that I won't need to read a certain ssssection of the paper thissss weekend.
but enough about the fellassss beside us.
The meal.
absolutely Di-VINE.
we started with the Fagottini
a chickpea flour crepe stuffed with mixed mushrooms, asparagus and chef's mix of cheeses and truffle pate
drizzled with truffle honey
we also had the Carpaccio di nana
Smoked duck carpaccio served with fresh orange, shaved pecorino di pienza and Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
then we had the Insalata di Matti
Fresh arugula with grapes, walnuts and shaved pecorino di pienza with pomegranate vinaigrette.
we shared the homemade pheasant & chestnut ravioli followed by the Costole di maiale-- "Nastro Azzuro"
Pork short ribs slow roasted with Nastro Azzuro Italian beer, blood oranges, rosemary and garlic.
by far one of the best meals I've had in a while.
Chef Alida Solomon calls her restaurant "Tutti Matti", meaning "everybody's crazy" in Italian.
I'm crazy about this restaurant, that's for sure.
Rustic Italian cuisine that is upscale, yet casual, a great little place that offers up a little taste of Tuscany.
Bonus was the excellent and friendly service.
The place was fairly busy for a chilly monday night and it seemd to me to be many regulars and other chefs from other restaurants.
That's always a good sign.
Unfortunately we had to postpone that trip to Tuscany, but in the meantime Tutti Matti is the next best thing.
It was Deliciousssssssss.

oh and Borat was pretty hillarious.
Though I wonder how many people didn't get his sense of humour, and left the movie feeling offended.
and was Palm-ella Anderson in on the joke or what?
That's what this enquiring mind really wants to know.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

out of tune

happy birthday to me.
happy birthday to me.
happy birthday.
happy birthday.
happy meee.
god another year has come and gone.
dec. 3rd. 1970.
that officially makes me closer to 40 than 30.
36 (for those of you that are as bad at numbers as me)
It's hard to believe there was a time when I bumped up my age by a few years to sound older.
Now I can hardly believe I'm officially in my mid-thirties.
I'm in total denial.
Fortunately I often get mistaken for say...27-30ish.
which of course makes me feel sooo much better, then again people could just be saying that.
Which is fine by me.
so much has happened in my thirties so far.
30. got married.
31. bought first home.
33. preggers.
34. had Lulu.
36. NOW WHAT??
I kind of covered all the big stuff, now what am I supposed to look forward to?
Menopause for god's sakes?!
okay I'm obviously not thrilled about getting older.
In fact I'm really not taking it too well at all.
but on the up side,
I still don't have any grey hair (with the exception of one single persistent eyelash.. I'm a freak what can I say?)
I feel healthier than I did in my twenties. (due largely in part to the lack of wild & crazy living like in my younger years.)
I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin (regardless of how stretched marked it has become)
I have a good life with a lot less stress than I had in my twenties. (or at least a different kind of stress)
so I guess it's not thaaaat bad getting another year older.
Besides I really have no choice in the matter.
so yeah. I'm 36. hip hip hooray.

Big daddy and lulu let me sleep in an extra hour this morning.
seeing as I was up with Lulu at 3 a.m. & 5 a.m. (damn teeth)
so the day is off to a good start.
minus the mild headache I have due to the consumption of an entire bottle of 2003 Rodney Strong Pinot last night.
Last bottle on the shelves at the LCBO.
I cooked myself and big daddy a birthday dinner last night.
first course- white asparagus with taleggio
second course- bacon wrapped beef tenderloin with a red wine glaze & sautéed leek.
I skipped the porcini mash to save on calories.
But instead had molten chocolate cakes for dessert.
what the hell, it's my birthday damn it.