by Wander Woman on Dec.11, 2013
Trader Joe’s finally came to Austin, and it has dramatically, dreamily improved my life.
Like any Californian, TJ’s was a mainstay of my existence. How else does one entertain without the cheeses, tasty crackers and charcuterie so generously, affordably, offered by Trader’s? Saying goodbye to TJ’s was one of the hardest parts about moving to Texas two years ago.
But now TJ’s is back in my life, and I’m endless grateful to the powers that be for allowing us to reunite.
On a recent trip to this cheap, sexy store, I discovered a rich wild mushroom-tinged triple creme brie. You have to love the taste of mushrooms, obviously. It’s a winner…
by Wander Woman on Dec.02, 2013
For Thanksgiving, I made these pretty and creamy white chocolate and cranberry cheesecake bars. (It was amazing to break away from mama duties and spend some time in the kitchen. So therapeutic! Plus, it reminded me that there are other things in life I am capable of doing outside of nursing.)
I’m not a big fan of white chocolate (too sweet for me!), which is probably why I only ate one or two bars and then threw in the towel. It was a logical alternative to eating pumpkin pie, because, like most people, I’m thoroughly pumpkined out by the time Turkey Day rolls around.
Hope you got fabu bargains and oodles of leisure time this holiday weekend, and gorged yourself on desserts like this.
Of course, we counted our blessings as we celebrated our little turkey’s first Thanksgiving…
by Wander Woman on Nov.26, 2013
My mom makes the best lumpia, which is a Filipino-style egg roll. Filipinos take pride in their lumpia, stuffing their rolls with their own combination of meat and veggies. These rolls of scrumptiousness are usually deep-fried, but my mama likes to make a batch of healthy, non-fried lumpia whenever she makes the fried version. They’re guiltless, just as delicious (if you don’t mind the absence of crunch), and are fun to munch on while you’re waiting for the fried ones to cook and cool.
Mom uses ground beef, garlic, onion, green beans, cabbage, and carrots in her recipe. Simply brown the meat and onions with garlic, throw the veggies in the pan too, and roll the mixture in razor-thin rice paper. Garnish with a leaf of lettuce and it’s ready to serve.
And here’s my growing lil’ chunk who in about a year can enjoy her lola’s lumpia…
by Wander Woman on Nov.21, 2013
*This post is intended for soon-to-be moms who plan on nursing. Food readers may find it a tad boring and long-winded.
This little chicken is my whole life right now. I eat, sleep and breathe her. (Not that she lets me eat or sleep longer than a couple of hours.) Most days I stare at her and think, Oh my God, you grew in my tummy. I felt you for all those months, and now here you are, more alive and spunky than I ever imagined!
Other days I cry and wonder, Oh my God, this babycare stuff is so damn exhausting – how am I going to do this for the next umpteen years? I can barely make it through another day. (I did this a lot in the first couple of weeks).
But then a small victory comes my way: Jassy Rae gives me a good, thunderous burp and falls into a deep, breathy, happy sleep, and I think, OK, I can do this. I may be able to raise this human after all.
Alas, this is the beautiful chaos of parenthood.
So here’s a recap of the last 5 ½ weeks: I’ve been spending every minute of the last month-plus getting to know Jas. This tiny person, our daughter, has grown a lot. Jassy Rae was once so petite, I was frightened she’d slip out of my grip and spill to the floor. Now, a thousand feedings later, she’s robust with a Buddha belly and the cutest fat rolls at every bend of her body.
She may have a soft, serious gaze that, no doubt, she gets from her dad, but she’s feisty and demanding; something we learned during our stay in the neonatal ICU. Yes, we had a traumatic health scare after we took her home… (continue reading…)
by Wander Woman on Nov.11, 2013
Over the weekend, my BF made these amazing Martha Stewart Rosemary Butter Cookies for us (my best friend flew all the way from Cali to Texas to meet and bond with our new, pint-sized, much-loved addition!).
The cookies are savory, buttery and dusted with chunky specs of sugar, giving it a modest amount of sweetness.
And here’s Jassy Rae, who hit the four-week milestone this past weekend! She’s getting chunkier and more adorable (and slightly easier to care for!) by the day. As parents, we’re pretty excited we’ve been able to keep her alive, fed, burped, bathed, and thriving this past month. It’s a milestone for us too!
We love Jas’s long toes…
…And also the fantastic homemade starry-patchwork quilt given to Jas by our dear friends (thanks S+M!).
On a side note, not sure how photogs are able to snap those precious naked-baby-sleeping shots. Because as soon as I strip her down to her birthday suit, the wailing begins. They must have a heat lamp and/or Baby Zzzquil on hand to knock infants out.
by Wander Woman on Nov.05, 2013
I love any watering hole that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and also one that jumps with color, like Barlata, a newish place south of the river in Austin.
This resto-bar proved just what a tired, shut-in new mama needed for an hour on a Saturday night. After guzzling my drink, I couldn’t wait to sprint back home, because being away from our daughter for more than a couple of hours is too heartbreaking.
And here is Jassy Rae achieving her latest milestone, three weeks of age…
by Wander Woman on Oct.31, 2013
It’s Jassy’s first Halloween!
It seemed appropriate that she dress up as Count Dracula, since she sucks milk from my body insatiably, leaving me drained and battered, very similar to the vampire’s M.O.
Like all new parents, my hiz and I feel wiped out and exhausted from lack of sleep, but we’re slowly starting to get the hang of this babycare stuff.
Days blur into nights, and it seems like I spend every waking moment feeding, burping, diaper-changing and soothing my little lady, who is from what I can tell a pretty normal baby. No colic, no GERD, etc.
However, she’s an impatient and feisty feeder, a valuable morsel I learned from our lactation consultant. (There is no way I would still be breastfeeding were it not for professional help! Amen to those LCs!)
Anyhoo, we’re devouring every second we spend with Jassy Rae and are in awe of her daily achievements… her head-lifting attempts, her sweet smiles as she sleeps, her love of baths and the diaper changing table.
She’s a trip! An adorable one.
by Wander Woman on Oct.28, 2013
Every year on the Friday before Halloween, I watch my favorite vampire movie while wearing a dramatic gown, fill the room with candlelight, pour a bottle of red wine, and feast on a dish with lots of tomato sauce (to get in the spirit of blood-letting!).
This year, since I had Jassy Rae in my arms all night long, I didn’t dress up in full costume, but I did manage to throw on some gaudy chandelier earrings… at least until it was time to burp her. My mom made spaghetti with meat sauce for us (if you’re a mom-to-be, having loved ones cook for you 24/7 is awesome!), and I sipped my glass of red wine while we inducted our little babe into our annual October movie night.
Our milk-drunk monkey can’t quite keep herself up. Nana’s helping hands to the rescue…
by Wander Woman on Oct.23, 2013
My super wonderful mom-in-law has been staying with us since we got home from the hospital, and she has been cooking up a storm, including two batches of these delicious sweet and salty chocolate chip cookies. It’s Giada’s recipe with the addition of Maldon sea salt on top. When you’re sleep-deprived and starved for days on end, fresh-baked cookies make everything better.
Our little wonder, Jassy Rae, turned a week old this past Saturday! We’re still trying to finagle a firm sleeping/feeding schedule, which takes a bit of time, say all of my mommy friends. Hiz and I spend hours staring at her, in awe of this tiny, feisty creature who is ours forever.
Like most postpartum moms, I’m hyper emotional and will cry just looking at her. I also cried after the utilities serviceman left our home the other night. Not sure what that says about my mental state!
Jassy Rae hated her one-week photo shoot, despite having been freshly fed, bathed and changed.
Here she is sleeping, looking decidedly more content…
by Wander Woman on Oct.15, 2013
Our beautiful, squirming ball of magic came into the world this past weekend!
After 14 hours of labor, Jasper Rae burst into the delivery room, wide-eyed and crying, and our hearts exploded.
Life will never be the same, and we couldn’t be happier!