Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Day Miracle

In honor of mother's day, I thought I'd blog about baby birds.

My regular and attentive readers will remember a few short weeks ago when I was all a twitter about some robin's eggs next to my porch.


Well, after that discovery I began to torture the poor mom bird on a daily basis, as I had to check in on the status of her eggs. She really didn't have much of a defense mechanism. I would peer into the tree and she would run (uhm, fly) for the hills, leaving her little eggs on their own, completely defenseless. But it's mother's day, far be it for me to criticize the robin mother who was probably holding down two jobs to make ends meet all the while providing warmth for her poor little eggs.

Anyhow, it wasn't long, before those little eggs turned into three teeny birds. And here is the amazing part!  It was even less time before the teeny tiny naked birds, turned into large flying birds!!!


 (Hard to see in the 5/6 picture, but they are sprouting tufts of feathers)



A couple hours after I took that last photo, I went and checked on them and caused quite a commotion. I think they must have just started flying because I saw one juvenile bird that startled and headed for a tree and a bunch of adults, who for the very first time actually wanted to attack rather than running away when I appeared!

I find it amazing. I don't know if they were born on 5-2, but I know on 5-2 they were tiny and feather free. By 5-11 they were ready to leave the nest!  How can that happen so quickly?  I am assuming they flew off and are now happily living a little robin life. I looked all around and found no little birds on the ground, so I am assuming all was well.

Nice job, robin mother. I will never again doubt your parenting prowess!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just likeToll House.
This blog is dedicated my oldest (oops, wrong term) longest (?) friend Jen, with whom I made about a zillion batches of cookies.

For much of my life, chocolate chip cookies were my very favorite things. As a kid I made endless batches of Toll House cookies. I knew the recipe by heart. I knew exactly how to make them the best -
  1. margarine not butter (too crispy with butter), 
  2. the margarine needed to soft but could not be melted (you were totally screwed if you hadn't though ahead and taken margarine out of the fridge ahead of time), 
  3. the batter needed to be stirred and not mixed in a blender. 
I ate such an huge quantity of cookie dough as a child it's amazing I wasn't huge, or diabetic, or something equally terrible. Shoot, it's amazing I didn't get salmonella with all the raw eggs consumed. I did occasionally eat the cookies, but it was really the dough I loved. 

As an adult, I learned that making cookies was a bad idea. I would still eat lots of dough and as good as it was it always made me feel extra ill (duh). I'm sure I felt extra ill as I child too, but somehow as an adult I was a tiny bit smarter. (Smarter in that I could decide to not make them, not smarter in that I could limit my consumption if I did make them.) This didn't stop my love of these cookies (and really these are the only type of cookies one should eat). Instead of making them, I would buy them. Not packaged grocery store chocolate chip cookies (yuck). They had to be perfect. Crunchy chocolate chip cookies are waste. Certain companies had (have) great ones, and probably got way too much of my money.

When I went paleo, I stopped most sugar except for some dark chocolate. And with that change, my love affair seems to have dwindled. Now, when I have the very occasional (once a year or so) cookie, they are much too sweet and I don't really enjoy them. 

Today, I have a couple parties to attend and since it's hard to split a salad, I decided to make some cookies to bring along. Let me tell you, the paleo version is an entirely different animal. The cookies I made today just had eggs, almond butter, chocolate, vanilla, sugar, salt and baking soda. Super easy and completely margarine free (can't even imagine margarine these days). The dough was less tempting. But the cookies are still extra delicious. (And extra pricey.......

Almond butter (do you have any idea how expensive almond butter is right at the moment? Well let me tell you the cheapest kind was $15 for a small jar!)
Coconut sugar (this stuff is like $6 per pound and really sugar is sugar is sugar, but whatever when in Rome....)
Theo's 85% cacao organic chocolate (okay, this was on sale and would be worth every penny no matter the price).)

Even in their new (healthy??) version, they took me on a walk down memory lane. I feel like running down Howe street and giving some to Jen. And maybe saving some for my mom for mother's day (I'm sure those were a present for a year or two (or three). 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Vacation, All I ever wanted.

Tonight marks the end of my birthday vacation week. The end of nine glorious days of sleeping, socializing, and basically doing a lot of nothing!  I had house plans. I had to do lists. But not much of that got done. Somehow I was way too busy. Allow me to give you some quick, day by day highlights. Apologies, in advance for the pictures, which seem to revolve primarily around the animals. When I was around people I was too distracted to take pictures.

Day 1.
Okay, day 1 I actually worked like a dog. I had some people over to celebrate so I spent the day cooking and cleaning. I made the most INSANEly delicious 'paleo' fudge with almond butter and coconut oil. Then it was onto the balls and sauces.  The party was a huge success! I drank most of a beer and got 'drunk', the company was great and I only broke one of my presents before I opened it!


Day 2.
Day 2 was my birthday and it was actually pretty quiet most of the day (as I recovered from my 'most of a' beer). In the evening I met up with two great friends for a little spa time. We spent several hours steaming and soaking and freezing and chatting and steaming again. All that was followed by a sugar scrub. Then dinner. Then the most brilliant nights sleep ever. (Sorry, no naked lady photos).

Days 3-4
I headed up to the cabin with three of my favorite beings - Otto and Daisy and my mom. There was some hiking, thrift storing, cooking, reading and sunning going on.  Daisy rocked the trip much better than her first time (Daisy Adventure).

Brave cat. 

Otto was brave during the day but took to the closet at night. 

This is 50% off on tuesdays!

Relaxin' in the car.

Cat ear, knee and steering wheel.
Day 5
Oh No, half way through!  I returned from the cabin around 3ish. Headed to the gym for a work out that nearly did me in because ITWAS80DEGREES!!!!! Yes, during much of my vacation week it was over 70 and sunny!  Workout was followed by dinner with a friend.

Day 6. 
No rest for the weary. Physical therapy appointment (where I almost graduated from physical therapy!), an awesome workout that involved carrying large weights up and down the street (repeatedly through a food truck line), lunch with people from my gym, AND drinks with a friend.  And 86 DEGREES!!!

Day 7
What did I do this day? Oh, yes, this was the last day of sun so it was lots of yard work (okay I lied a bit about doing nothing), then a trip to the gym and home to relax. And I met these guys.

Baby birds! (see previous blog for them in a future life.)
Day 8
Trip to the gym. Lots of slacking and some watching True Blood. Followed by a delicious dinner with a friend I haven't seen in way too long. 

Daisy helps me watch tv. 

And finally, Day 9. 
House work, farmer's market, cooking, hanging with a friend, BBQing the best pork chops ever and rain.

OMG. How does one go back? It's been 9 days of amazing and relaxing and warm and happiness.  Happy birthday me!